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Turkey Endorses Political Settlement In Cyprus

Turkey Endorses UN-Led Efforts To Broker Political Settlement In Cyprus

New York, Sep 24 2008 10:12AM

Turkish President Abdullah Gül today offered his country’s full backing to United Nations-led diplomatic negotiations aimed at reunifying the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

In an address to the opening day of the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, Mr. Gül said “we welcome and firmly support the comprehensive settlement negotiations” that recently began between Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

“The solution lies at the establishment of a new partnership State composed of two constituent states of equal status,” he said. “The process towards this goal should be based on the UN parameters of bizonality and political equality of the two sides.”

The full-fledged negotiations between Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat, which began earlier this month, are slated to resume on 8 October, with an initial focus on issues of governance and power-sharing.

In May, Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat committed to a partnership that will comprise a Federal Government with a single international identity, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which will be of equal status.

The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been in place on the island since 1964 after the outbreak of inter-communal violence. It is tasked with preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order.

Mr. Gül added in his speech that he believed it was “long overdue to end the unfair isolation of the Turkish Cypriots who voted courageously in favour of the UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan in 2004 – the Plan which was unfortunately rejected by the other side.”

ENDS

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