Cypriots pave way for unity talks

March 21, 2008 at 4:38 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 21 (UPI) -- Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders agreed Friday to take steps together to begin negotiations for a Cyprus reunification.

In their first meeting, Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias talked for more than three hours in Ankara about problems and how to bring the island together after being divided politically since 2004.

They agreed on a technical committee and working groups to get the ball rolling. The plan was for the working groups to be ready within three months to schedule meaningful reunification talks, the New Anatolian said.

Talat and Christofias also planned to meet again in three months.

The two leaders agreed further to reopen a major thoroughfare cut off by a checkpoint in the capital Nicosia, a symbolic move toward unity.

The meeting was hosted by Michael Moeller, chief of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Cyprus, who spoke briefly after the talks.

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