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Cyprus intends to restart reunification talks, rejects imposition of solution

Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos reiterated on Friday his intention to restart reunification talks, but stressed that no one can impose a solution against the will of the Cypriot people.

Papadopoulos told foreign media representatives in Cyprus that there may be some movements in reviving the deadlocked negotiations after presidential elections scheduled in February. Such an expectation is shared with the United Nations, the European Union, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. “We have always pressed for the earliest possible start of substantive negotiations and it is up to the UN Secretary General to be convinced to start a new effort,” said the president. Turkish President Abdullah Gul will visit the United States next week and in New York, he is expected to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. At a joint press conference with visiting Turkish Cypriot leader Meet Ali Talat in Ankara on Thursday, Gul said he would ask the UN to restart efforts for a comprehensive solution to the decades long Cyprus problem. But Papadopoulos said that Gul’s remarks on “two states and two peoples” in Cyprus were “unacceptable,” adding Cyprus government still sticks to a bi-zonal bi-communal formula.

Cyprus has remained divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers who pushed for union with Greece. For several decades, the UN has continuously worked to persuade Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to find a viable solution. But in a referendum held in April 2004, Papadopoulos led Greek Cypriots into rejecting settlement plan by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan because it would not meet their aspiration for the island’s reunification, while Turkish Cypriots approved it. (