1 March 2006

Secretary-General Meets with President of Cyprus

NEW YORK, 28 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued following the meeting in Paris today between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the President of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos:

United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan and President Tassos Papadopoulos met in Paris today to review the situation in Cyprus and examine modalities for moving forward on the process leading to the reunification of the island.

They agreed, as they have in the past, that the resumption of the negotiating process within the framework of the Secretary-General's good offices must be timely and based on careful preparation.  To that end the Secretary-General was pleased to note that the leaders of both communities have agreed that bi-communal discussions on a series of issues, agreement on which are needed for the benefit of all Cypriots, will be undertaken at the technical level.  The Secretary-General and President Papadopoulos expressed their common hope that these discussions would help restore trust between the two communities, as well as prepare the way for the earliest full resumption of the negotiating process.  The Secretary-General noted that he had received assurances from the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mr. Talat, that he shared the same aspirations.

The Secretary-General and Mr. Papadopoulos also agreed that it would be beneficial for all concerned, and would greatly improve the atmosphere for further talks, if progress could be achieved on further disengagement of forces and demilitarization on the island, on the complete de-mining of Cyprus, and on the issue of Famagusta.  They took note of the recent decision by the European Union to release the much awaited funds for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community.  In this context, they expressed their warm wishes for the full and speedy recovery of Mr. Talat.

The Secretary-General and President Papadopoulos agreed to continue their ongoing dialogue with the expressed aim at accelerating the search for a comprehensive, fair and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.

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