He said he expects Turkey to understand the need to change its stance on the Cyprus problem so that Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Ali Talat is allowed to negotiate with respect to the UN resolutions and the high level agreements on the Cyprus question for a bizonal, bicommunal functional federation, that will restore human rights and the freedoms of all the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
In statements before leaving for an official visit to Syria, President Christofias said that he will discuss with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad developments in the Cyprus question and ask the help “of a friendly country in the Islamic conference”.
He also said that they will discuss issues regarding an illegal sea route between Syria and Cyprus’ occupied areas and other bilateral and regional concerns as well as Syria-EU relations.
The two Presidents will have a private meeting and then lead their respective delegations to official talks.
In the afternoon, President Christofias will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. In the evening, he attend a state banquet, hosted in his honour by the Syrian President.
During Christofias’ visit, Cyprus and Syria will sign nine interstate agreements and protocols.
In particular, they will sign agreements on social insurance, air traffic, communications and information technology, and a programme on the implementation of a cultural agreement between the two countries for 2009-2011.
Moreover they will sign a protocol on the implementation of an agreement for cooperation on tourism, a programme between the Agriculture Ministries of the two countries, memoranda of understanding in the field of environment protection and on sports that will be implemented by the Olympic Committees, as well as a bank arrangement between the two countries Central Banks.
Christofias is accompanied by Ministers of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyrpianou and Communications and Works Nicos Nicolaides.
After his visit to Syria, Christofias will fly to Paris for a meeting and working lunch with French President Nikolas Sarkozy.
Financial Mirror, August 31, 2009