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No Guarantors Resolution 'Provocation' - Talat

The Cyprus government's resolution that the island should be guarantor-free is a 'provocation' said Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, one day ahead of peace negotiations with President Demetris Christofias in the UN-protected area in Nicosia.

The resolution was "a provocation aiming at sabotaging the ongoing negotiation process on the island," he said, describing Turkey's guarantor position as of 'vital importance' to the Turkish Cypriots.

The resolution can "no way change the Treaty of Guarantees", he said. Work is underway to "take a decision on the Cyprus issue at the Republic's parliament in response to the Greek Cypriot House of Representative's resolution," he said.

Meanwhile, Turkish-Cypriot parliament speaker Hasan Bozer said that the five Turkish-Cypriot political parties are expected to unanimously adopt a resolution against the no-guarantor decision, saying that the Treaty of Guarantee is an "indispensable red line." The resolution will highlight Turkish-Cypriot sensitivities on the issue, he said.

In answer to criticism from the Turkish-Cypriot politicians, government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that no one has the right to interfere with the parliament's decision, not even the president.

The government recently passed a unanimous resolution that Cyprus should be guarantor-free like other European nations, and calling on Turkey to withdraw its troops from the island. Cyprus' security was guaranteed by Britain, Turkey and Greece in a treaty signed in 1960. Turkey invoked the treaty as cause for its 1974 invasion of the island.

Reunification talks are set to continue tomorrow between the leaders of Cyprus' main communities on issues of Economy, European Union, Property and Security. The meeting between Christofias and Talat starts at 10am in the UN-protected area of the old Nicosia airport.

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