NEWS

Cyprus ministers roll up sleeves

Cyprus’s new president, Dimitris Christofias, was sworn in yesterday and instructed his Cabinet to get down to work immediately as he seeks to start reunification talks with the island’s Turkish-Cypriot community. «The work starts now,» Christofias told his new ministers at their first Cabinet meeting. The Cypriot president said that his government would aim to create «a more just society» and to find «a viable solution to the Cyprus problem.» «If we manage to achieve these two fundamental aims, then it would truly be the dawn of a new era for our country and our people,» said Christofias. Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou, the former European Union Health Commissioner, is due to take up his post tomorrow. He is set to be replaced in Brussels by former MP Androulla Vassiliou, who is the wife of former Cypriot President Giorgos Vassiliou. Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat is due to have talks next week with the Turkish government about the future of the Turkish-occupied part of the island. Talat and Christofias have already spoken and are both set on arranging a meeting, but a date for talks has not been set. Talat has suggested that discussions could start as early as April. Christofias is expected to meet with UN special representative Michael Moller on Monday to discuss the resumption of UN-sponsored talks. The Cypriot president is also due in Athens on Tuesday for three days of talks with the Greek government.