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PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will today hold their second substantive meeting since negotiations were official launched on September 3.

The two leaders, who will meet at 10am, are due to continue their discussions on governance and power sharing, even though UN envoy Alexander Downer will not be present. The meeting will be held under the auspices of Chief of Mission Taye-Brook Zerihoun.

It is not known when the next meeting of the leaders will be, as Christofias will shortly be heading for New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said yesterday the Greek Cypriot side expected the continuation of meaningful negotiations.

Once the governance and power-sharing discussion has gone as far as it can, the leaders may refer outstanding aspects back to the working groups for further consideration, and move on to the next issue, which will be property.

Until now, the process has seen some ups and downs, mainly accusations against Talat for breaking a media embargo that the two leaders imposed on themselves after their first meeting on September 3. They last met on September 11.

The mood improved somewhat at the weekend when the two leaders attended a bi-communal youth peace initiative, and joined hands while pledging to work for a solution.

Yesterday, Talat’s spokesman Hasan Ercakica said the accusations against the Turkish Cypriot leader over the embargo did not reflect the truth.

He said it was a sign of ill will on the part of the Greek Cypriot side to make such allegations.

“The statements of Talat were related to the general situation of the Cyprus problem and it is our primary duty to inform the public about our evaluations on this issue,” he said.

“The Cyprus problem is a problem which will be solved with mutual concessions. If the Greek Cypriot side is alleging that it has no other concession to make, it is meaningless for it to be at the negotiating table. The Greek Cypriot side must leave aside running after manipulations and take its place at the negotiating table with seriousness.”

However, Izzet Izcan, the general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus Party (BKP) said Talat continuously violated the embargo on statements. He said the intention was not good, and it was not helping the process.

By Jean Christou, Cyprus Mail, September 18, 2008
|||Leaders back to work for talks today
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