GeriGündem Turkish, Greek business leaders urge for swift Cyprus settlement
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Turkish, Greek business leaders urge for swift Cyprus settlement

Turkish, Greek business leaders urge for swift Cyprus settlement
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Business groups from Turkey, Greece and the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities issued a joint call on Thursday for a swift settlement on the divided island targeting the end of 2009. (UPDATED)

Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Greek Cypriot Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB), and the Turkish Cypriot Businessmen's Association (SAD) held their first such meeting in the Turkish-held north of the island, which has been divided for the past 45 years.

The groups urged the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities to make "every possible effort to agree ?n changes and to complete all aspects of a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible".

"We ... call upon the two communities in Cyprus to continue negotiating in good faith to achieve a comprehensive and enduring settlement of the Cyprus problem," they said in a joint declaration read out at a press conference.

"Any opportunity to solve the issue is not to be missed and, therefore, (we) encourage the negotiating leaders... to intensify their efforts to reach an agreement," the declaration added.

The four organizations said they hoped that the U.N.-sponsored peace negotiations on Cyprus, coupled with Turkey's accession talks with the European Union, would "help to reach an acceptable solution ... this year".

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias last September began reunification talks, which have so far showed few signs of tangible progress, after a four-year hiatus.

The two leaders discussed Wednesday European Union matters as part of peace negotiations aimed at finding a comprehensive settlement in the island, after putting off last week talks on complex property issues. Property problems would be revisited at a later stage because there was a "significant difference in views".

Neither side sees permanent partition as an option, but they have been unable to agree on how the island will be reunited. On paper, they agree to a bizonal federation, though issues like power-sharing, territorial swaps and a raft of complex property disputes make a deal difficult.

 

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