Cyprus leaders to meet soon on talks: Greek president

Christofias and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat have agreed to relaunch talks to end a decades-old conflict dividing their populations, and complicating Turkey's prospect of joining the European Union.

Cyprus leaders to meet soon on talks: Greek president
The leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus will meet this month and in July to assess whether direct peace talks can start soon, Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said on Thursday.

"We want to pass to this phase of our common efforts but we must not work for the sake only of these face-to-face negotiations. We have to prepare ourselves ... because if we fail this is a very, very serious failure," Christofias said.

He was speaking at a think-tank discussion on the Cyprus reunification process.

Christofias and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat have agreed to relaunch talks to end a decades-old conflict dividing their populations, and complicating Turkey's prospect of joining the European Union.

Early expectations that the talks could start in June appeared to be dissipating because of a heavy workload in preparatory consultations undertaken by the two sides.

Nominally, both sides support reunification as a bizonal bicommunal federation but there are deep-rooted disagreements on how it will work in practice.

Christofias said there had been some "misunderstandings and contradictions" which needed to be clarified with the Turkish Cypriot side.

"It is really time to solve the problem. The continuation of the status quo is harming all Cypriots," Christofias said.

The Mediterranean island was partitioned after a Greek-inspired coup in 1974.

Reuters
Last Mod: 19 Haziran 2008, 13:49
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