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Negotiator: Cyprus's preparatory talks for reunification go smoothly
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13:58, May 03, 2008

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The preparatory talks for the reunification of Cyprus have proceeded smoothly in good atmosphere, said chief Greek Cypriot negotiator George Iacovou on Friday.

Greek and Turkish Cypriot negotiators began on April 18 the negotiations to pave the way for substantive reunification talks between their leaders in June.

Six working groups and seven technical committees have been involved in the negotiations in the UN-protected area in the capital Nicosia. The working groups are discussing fundamental issues like power-sharing, security and property while the technical committees tackling everyday concerns.

"Generally speaking, everyone has determined that the good climate is still maintained in the working groups and technical committees," said Iacovou.

"I think that the exploration of the intentions of the two sides is proceeding smoothly," he added.

Iacovou made the remarks following successive meetings with the Greek Cypriot heads of the working groups and technical committees to review the work done so far.

According to Iacovou, the working groups have already entered substantive aspects of the Cyprus problem, such as the constitutional court and the authorities of the federal government.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers.

In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot authorities declared breakaway and set up "the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which is recognized only by Turkey.

For several decades, the UN has continuously worked to persuade the two communities to find a viable solution to the Cyprus issue.

In a referendum held in April 2004, Greek Cypriots rejected a comprehensive settlement plan by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan while Turkish Cypriots approved it.

On March 21, 2008, the leaders of Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities agreed to relaunch negotiations for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, but the two sides have to iron out their differences on the formula through compromises.


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