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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Talat: real talks will begin after UN team flies in ]

Talat: real talks will begin after UN team flies in

TURKISH Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday real negotiations could not begin until after the UN assessment team visits the island in early April.

Talat was speaking on his return from Ankara, where it is understood he was finalising a strategy with the Turkish government. Although he is due to meet President Demetris Christofias in the week of March 17-24, Talat said this was not the start of negotiations.

“It is not yet clear under what conditions the solution negotiations will begin, if they will even begin, within what scope they will be and when they will begin,” said Talat. “We want [negotiations] to begin as soon as possible. We are doing everything in our capacity in that regard but since negotiations will begin through an initiative by the UN, we have to wait for the UN’s assessment visit.”

The team is expected in early April.

Talat said hopes had arisen that a solution could be reached with the election of a leader on the Greek Cypriot side who was pro-solution.

“Both Turkey and we want the Cyprus problem to be solved as soon as possible,” said Talat. “We want comprehensive solution negotiations to begin as soon as possible. We should not waste any more time. It is still possible to reach a solution by the end of 2008. We are ready to give our support to the efforts of the UN in this respect.”

Asked what Ankara thought of Christofias, Talat said: “Ankara listened to us. We are the ones who know Christofias, and we are the ones who can best assess the situation in Cyprus. They most probably share our views.”

Reports in the Greek Cypriot press yesterday said Ankara had had two plans in place, depending on whether Christofias or ousted President Tassos Papadopoulos had been elected.

Talat said that during his first meeting with Christofias this month, the two sides would discuss and assess each other’s positions and that the talks would progress at the initiative of the UN.

“We were expecting to meet with Christofias outside the UN framework,” said Talat. “But he did not see this fit. He wanted to meet under the UN framework. We have no objections to that... I know Christofias from when he was AKEL’s Secretary-General. I don’t know his position today. I will have a chance to find out.”


(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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