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Tuesday, 26 February 2008


26th Feb 2008

Congratulations to Mr Christofias on his convincing victory in the second round of the Cyprus presidential election on Sunday. His winning margin of 53.4% to Mr Kassoulides' 46.6% was a convincing win. Having maintained good links with AKEL in Britain since my election to the European Parliament, I am especially pleased about MR Christofias's victory.

However, this is about more than party politics. The election of Dimitris Christofias will bring a solution to the Cyprus problem closer. According to the "Guardian", Mr Christofias is in record as saying, "My priority will be the salvation of the island, to reunify it with Turkish Cypriots under the umbrella of a bizonal, bicommunal federation".

Unusually for Greek Cypriot leaders, Mr Christofias enjoys good relations with Turkish Cypriots, including Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots in the north of Cyprus, the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", who telephoned to congratulate him soon after the results were known. An official in Talat's office that the two leaders want to meet soon, though no date has yet been fixed.

If Talat and Christofias begin communicating, the international community will, I hope, sit up and take notice. The election of Demitris Christofias has undoubtedly ushered in a new era or rapprochement and reconciliation. This is the first time the leaders both of the communities in Cyprus have wanted to negotiate. Hopefully this time it will lead somewhere.

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