07 March, 2008
Newly elected Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Thursday reiterated his standing position of implementation of a crucial July 8, 2006 agreement for the Cyprus issue, saying the agreement is one of his administration's priorities.
"The major goal, the major challenge is the solution of the Cyprus problem," the veteran leader of the leftist AKEL party on the island republic said, adding that implementation of the agreement will dominate his term.
Speaking at a Foreign Press Association of Athens (FPA) luncheon in the Greek capital, Christofias said he will gauge the intentions of the Turkish Cypriot side during a meeting with T/C leader Mehmet Ali Talat, tentatively scheduled for between March 17 and 24.
He also expressed his "heightened satisfaction" over his high-level contacts in Athens, as Christofias made his first official visit overseas to Greece following his election victory on Feb. 24.
In response to press questions, Christofias said the July 8 agreement is the basis for negotiations, stressing that the Annan peace is not "transferable".
"The only agreement that exists, beyond the high-level agreements (1977 and 1979) is the Agreement of July 8, which is procedural and substantive," he said.
Moreover, Christofias said he would like to speak frankly and openly with Talat without previous "exploratory" statements.
Additionally, he said the main and overriding priority is a solution for the long-standing Cyprus problem, thus there is "no intention" to open other fronts, namely, the removal of British sovereign military bases from the island.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) President George Karatzaferis met on Thursday with newly elected Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, whom we called a “great patriot”.
Karatzaferis said that he was very satisfied with the talks they had, stressing that he is optimistic that the Cyprus issue will be settled permanently in the “new days to come”.
Earlier, the visiting Cypriot president had met with former prime minister and former leader of main opposition PASOK party Costas Simitis who commented afterwards that President Christofias has a very good insight of the way the Cyprus issue will have to be handled.
Simitis stated that they examined likely developments in the Cyprus issue, adding that expectations are great and Cyprus will meet them if it makes the appropriate moves.
Source: Athens News Agency