PRESIDENT - CYPRUS TALKS - PROPOSAL - CENSUS
The Greek Cypriot side has submitted a precise proposal for a census in both communities that will be monitored by the United Nations and under its aegis, said here Wednesday President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.
The President noted, however, the opposition of the Turkish Cypriot side towards such action.
President Christofias made the statement after today’s talks at the UN Protected area in Nicosia. The meeting lasted one and a half hours and the two leaders decided to meet again on Wednesday, 30 March, said UNFICYP Acting Spokesperson Rolando Gomez.
Gomez added that Alexander Downer, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General, was unable to deliver post-meeting remarks as he was engaged in a meeting.
The leaders would meet on 30 March and their Representatives will meet on Tuesday, 29 March, he added.
In his remarks at the Presidential Palace, President Christofias said he and Eroglu continued the discussion on citizenship.
“We have submitted a very specific proposal, to hold a population census in both communities that would be undertaken by the UN”, Christofias said.
He added that there is a special UN census department, and recalled that the UN Secretary-General had stated, during their last meeting in Geneva on 26 January, that he was ready to help towards this.
“If we really want to talk about a solution to the citizenship issue, i.e. the settlers’ problem at the end of the day, we really have to have this census done”, President Christofias remarked.
The President underlined that “if we do not know the numbers and how many Turks from mainland Turkey have the so-called citizenship, we are not able to get into the depth of the issue. We are ready, the UN has said it is ready to help towards this, but unfortunately, we have again problems with the Turkish Cypriot side”.
President Christofias said the problem will be further discussed with Downer, since he represents the SG and “we will try to persuade the Turkish Cypriot side-since the UN are willing to undertake this project-to accept an impartial census of the population to enable us to know where we stand and how we will deal with the citizenship issue”, he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third. The leaders of the two communities are currently engaged in UN-sponsored talks to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue.
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