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    Cyprus likes Obama comments but wants action

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    17 Ekim 2008 - 16:45Son Güncelleme : 17 Ekim 2008 - 16:56

    The Greek Cypriot government said on Friday it is satisfied with statements by U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama on the Cyprus issue, but believes "specific actions" are needed.

    A joint declaration on Europe this week by Obama and his Democratic vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden contains "important elements" that reflect the "realities" on Cyprus, government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou told reporters.

    In a policy position available on Obama's website, he and Biden call for Cyprus to "remain a single country in which each of the two communities on the island is able to exercise substantial political authority in its own geographical zone."

    "There must be a just and mutually agreed settlement of difficult issues like property, refugees, land, and security. A negotiated political settlement on Cyprus would end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and repair the island's tragic division while paving the way to prosperity and peace throughout the entire region," the statement released by two candidates said.

    "It would also give Cypriots a firm foundation on which to build their future after many years of division and uncertainty. It would help foster better Greek-Turkish relations, strengthen Turkish democracy, reduce the risk of military conflict, and remove a major obstacle to Turkish membership in the EU", the statement added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1964 when Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw into enclaves. 

     

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias held Monday their fourth meeting within the framework of the comprehensive peace talks relaunched last month.

     

    The launch of negotiations marked the first major push for peace since the failure of a U.N. reunification plan in 2004, which was approved by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek Cypriots. 

    Power sharing disputes remain at the heart of the Cyprus problem. The Greek Cypriots are seeking a reunification under a strong federal government but the Turkish Cypriots prefer more a devolved union.

    "These statements surely satisfy us," Stephanou was quoted by AFP as saying.

    "However, the Cyprus problem cannot be solved with statements alone but with specific actions and specific positions to support the prospect of a Cyprus solution that serves the interests of Greek and Turkish Cypriots," he said.

    "Such a solution must end the occupation and reunite Cyprus; its people, its economy and its institutions," he added.

    Photo: Reuters

     

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