Cyprus talks to continue in Athens

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is due to receive Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos in Athens on Monday for talks expected to focus on aligning their countries’ stances ahead of a possible relaunch of Cyprus peace talks. Karamanlis is also expected to brief Papadopoulos on his government’s strategy with Turkey. According to sources, the Greek PM will reassure the Cypriot leader that Athens will follow a steady policy in its dealings with Ankara and will not tailor its approach according to changing circumstances. Sources close to Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said the meeting will also serve to diminish a certain tension believed to have developed in relations between Athens and Nicosia since Bakoyannis replaced Petros Molyviatis at the ministry in February. Karamanlis’s talks with Papadopoulos will follow a scheduled meeting today between the Cypriot president and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Nicosia which is to be mediated by United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari. «The idea is to really find ways of moving forward so that we can begin to start some of those processes perhaps at a technical level but also on substantive issues,» Gambari said. Papadopoulos had proposed the meeting to Talat, through Gambari, «as an act of political willingness,» Cypriot government spokesman Christodoulos Pashardes told reporters yesterday.