NEWS

Cyprus leader quietly upbeat

Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias said yesterday that he may meet with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat before the end of this month and that fresh peace talks aimed at reunifying the island might begin by the end of June. «We have to prepare ourselves to find a settlement for a bizonal, bicommunal federation… corresponding as closely as possible to the interests of the Cypriots and not those of foreigners,» Christofias said. The Cyprus president warned against «excessive optimism» but said that he might meet Talat before Greek Orthodox Easter, which falls on April 27. Meanwhile, Christofias said, expert working committees from each side of the island are to start investigative talks this week with the aim of laying the groundwork for the launch of direct negotiations by the end of June.