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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Cyprus National Council concludes first meeting ]

Cyprus National Council concludes first meeting

The Cypriot political parties participating in the National Council, (top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus problem) were briefed Wednesday on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem by the President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, in the body's first session since President Demetris Christofias was elected in late February.

The Political parties were briefed on President Christofias' meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on March 21, the process for the establishing the agenda of a total of 13 technical committees and working groups, which will prepare the ground for direct UN-led negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The parties also had a first discussion regarding a future upgrading of the functioning of the Council, a commitment assumed by Christofias during the presidential elections campaign.

Speaking after the meeting, ruling left-wing AKEL, Parliamentary Spokesman Nicos Katsourides said that his party believes that in one week time the technical committees and the working groups will commence working, adding however that there are reservations as to whether problems may arise until the process begins.

He also said that AKEL will submit its views regarding the upgrading of the National Council. ''The President will either tomorrow or the day after receives our views,'' he said.

Right-wing Democratic Rally (DISI) leader Nicos Anastasiades said that the party revoked its decision to abstain from the meetings of the National Council.
DISI has been abstaining from National Council meetings since February 2006, sighting functional weaknesses.

''I can't see any reason not to recall a decision which was taken on particular reasons which have been removed,'' Anastasiades said, adding that the President requested from the parties to submit their views for the functioning of the Council.

In his statements, President of the center-right Democratic Party (DIKO), Marios Karoyan said that the result of the talks at the technical committees and the working groups will define whether there will be a direct negotiation for a Cyprus settlement, adding that work at the level of the committees will show if there is a change of the Turkish stance.

He described the session ''very useful and productive, adding that the President of the Republic briefed the body over the latest developments and explained all details as regards the agreement which led to the opening of Ledra Street.

He also said that the President is ready to receive the views of the Council members on the functioning of the Council.

On his part, Social Democrats Movement, EDEK, leader Yannakis Omirou said that the working groups will continue their mission so as to make progress that would justify the beginning of direct negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus issue.

He also said that EDEK has submitted its proposals for the upgrading of the operation of the National Council.

European Party leader, Demetris Syllouris said that EVROKO will submit its views and concerns in writing.

''We had a full briefing and we will submit our proposals and concerns in writing, as the President requested,'' he added.

Cyprus Environmentalists and Ecologists Movement General Secretary Giorgos Perdikis said his party submitted to the President its concerns and reservations, noting the Cyprus Greens will follow a constructive stance, supporting the President's efforts on the Cyprus problem.

''I think that everybody ascertained the efforts of the President to promote the positions of the Greek Cypriot side with insistence and determination. We tabled a document on the latest developments and we presented certain proposals to the President,'' he concluded.

On his part, former President Glafcos Clerides said there is along way to go until the solution of the Cyprus problem, adding that the general consensus suggests that there is a better climate.

''My belief is that there is a long way to go, the talks are yet to begin,'' he added.

Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on 21 March 2008 to ask their respective advisers, George Iacovou and Ozdil Nami, to meet with a view to set up a number of working groups and technical committees to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations.

The leaders also decided to meet again in three months to review the work of the committees dealing with aspects of the Cyprus problem, the results of which will be used to start negotiations under UN auspices for a solution.

(Source: Financial Mirror)

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