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Kasoulides: negotiations have come a long way (Updated)

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Sunday the Cyprus talks had come a considerable way without needing the involvement of any foreign mediators.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit in Malta, the foreign minister was asked to comment on the increased international interest in the Cyprus problem considering the upcoming visits of the foreign ministers of Russia and the US.

“It is an honour for Cyprus, because the foreign ministers of the two great powers and permanent members of the Security Council are visiting, and there will be the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister, somewhat later [December 21],” he said.

“Their visits are welcome,” he added, and they would be briefed on the developments in the Cyprus issue and told that the negotiations were going well.

“We are not saying that we are finished or that we have overcome all obstacles, but we have come a considerable way and, indeed this was done without requiring the involvement of any foreign agent,” Kasoulides said.

“Hopefully it will remain like this until the end. If however, it this becomes difficult then we may need the help of the US and Russia and the other permanent members of the [UN} Security Council to reach the desired result. Anyway, the Security Council will have to approve any agreed solution.”

Asked to comment on the refusal of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to meet Russian Foreign Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov in the buffer zone, Kasoulides said it was Akinci’s loss.

Kasoulides was elected president of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, entrusted with the implementation of the principles and values of the Commonwealth during the Malta summit.

“This is an honour for Cyprus. I welcome my election to the presidency of the Group, which I have served in the past,” he said, and referred to Cyprus` membership of the Commonwealth as a means to establish good international relations.

He also recalled Cyprus` ranking at the International Maritime Organisation, fourth out of 20, when 154 countries voted.

Replying to questions, he said he was pleased with the conclusions of the Commonwealth summit.

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