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    Cyprus settlement should assure political equality- Talat

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    16.10.2008 - 16:47 | Son Güncelleme:

    Any settlement that would reunify the ethnically-divided Cyprus should guarantee political equality between the two communities, Turkish Cypriot leader said Thursday.

    "Our fundamental principle regarding a Cyprus settlement is that political equality must be secured. We are after a settlement which would guarantee that Turkish Cypriots will not face danger again," Mehmet Ali Talat told students at a conference held at Istanbul's Galatasaray University.

    Talat said his talks with the Greek Cypriot leader have yielded a number of results in a proposed federal state for Cyprus.

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

    "After we began our full-fledged negotiations on Sept. 3, we talked about the authorities of the federal state and we have agreed on certain points," Talat said.

    "The continuation of Turkey's role a guarantor state is of crucial importance for Turkish Cypriots who do not trust in guarantees from the European Union and a number of other international institutions," he added.

    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.

    Other thorny issues include security guarantees and property settlement claims.

    Turkey and Greece remain the guarantor powers for the island, which gained independence from Britain in 1960.

    Photo: Ardic Aytalar



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