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Talks for Cyprus solution expected to start in September
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08:58, July 24, 2008

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Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said on Wednesday that the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities would decide on the beginning date of talks -- for a solution in the island -- during Friday's meeting.

In an interview with CNN Turk, a private TV channel in Turkey, Talat said that talks in Cyprus would most probably begin in September. He drew attention to the importance of political equality with Greek Cypriots in all institutions.

Talat said there was no agreement on the system of presidency yet, pointing out that the abolition of the guarantor system was out of the question.

"Agreements on guarantorship and alliance are not agreements between Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides but rather international agreements," he said.

Talat said Turkish Cypriot side had "red lines" during the talks and they were ready to negotiate everything else. He listed indispensable issues for Turkish Cypriot side as: "Turkey's guarantorship, political equality, a bi-zonal state with two founder states."

On March 21, 2008, Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and his Turkish counterpart Mehmet Ali Talat met and agreed on establishing several working groups and technical committees towards a solution in the Island.

On July 1, Christofias and Talat held talks in the UN-controlled buffer zone in the Cyprus capital Nicosia, on single sovereignty and citizenship, two key issues for future reunification negotiations.

They agreed to discuss the details of their implementation during the full-fledged negotiations and to meet on July 25 to undertake the final review of preparatory work made by experts for substantive talks to reunify the east Mediterranean island.

The Greek Cypriots have recently underlined the importance of a clear common basis on which the two leaders will be able to launch full-fledged negotiations.

They maintained that a viable solution would be a federal united republic of Cyprus, bi-zonal and bi-communal, with one sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality.

The Turkish Cypriot leadership stressed a reunited Cyprus should be established on "a Turkish Cypriot constituent state and a Greek Cypriot constituent state with political equality."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when the Turkish military intervened and controlled the north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers.

In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot authorities declared the establishment of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which is recognized only by Ankara.

Turkey maintains some 40,000 troops in the self-proclaimed "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which remains a key issue in the revived peace process aimed at reunifying the island.

For several decades, the UN has continuously worked to persuade the two communities to find a solution to the Cyprus issue, which is also a main obstacle to Turkey's EU membership ambitions.


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