Nicosia sets out its stance

The transformation of Cyprus into a bizonal, bicommunal federation, in accordance with a new United Nations-backed peace drive, would constitute a «massive concession» on the part of Nicosia, Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou said yesterday during an official visit to Athens. «A bizonal, bicommunal solution would be a massive concession for Cyprus, as there was never a geographical demarcation before the (Turkish) invasion,» Kyprianou said. He was speaking after talks with his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis, who reiterated Greece’s support for Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias, scheduled to meet Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat for the launch of much-awaited negotiations tomorrow. Bakoyannis said any solution should be «just, viable and functional.» Meanwhile Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis assured United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by telephone of Greece’s backing for the organization’s latest initiative to mediate talks for a Cyprus settlement.

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