Cypriot president is sworn in

Tassos Papadopoulos was yesterday sworn in as the fifth president of the Cyprus Republic since it gained independence from Britain in 1960. His election and inauguration coincide with intensive negotiations to reunite the island which has been divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974. Earlier in the day, Papadopoulos and his predecessor, Glafcos Clerides, met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Papadopoulos pledged to work toward a compromise settlement that will provide a viable and lasting peace. «As the victims of foreign occupation, (Greek Cypriots) want more than anyone a quick settlement that will ensure the reunification of our country and which will guarantee security and respect for human rights,» Papadopoulos said. Papadopoulos, 69, the island’s most prominent lawyer, assumed his duties at a ceremony at the Presidential Palace. Earlier, he had been confirmed by the 56-member House of Representatives. He will announce the 11 members of his Council of Ministers today. The leader of the centrist Democratic Party, Papadopoulos, with the backing of leftist parties, defeated incumbent Glafcos Clerides in the first round of voting on February 16. Clerides served two consecutive five-year terms.

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