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Christofias Proposes Census - Talks

The Greek-Cypriot side has proposed a population census in both communities under the supervision of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said President Demetris Christofias.

Speaking after the latest UN-led face-to-face talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu today, Christofias said that "we want to make this census if we are really talking about solving the problem of citizenship."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon is willing to back the census, said Christofias.

"If we do not know exact numbers and how many Turks from Turkey took so-called nationality, we can not actually talk about this issue," said Christofias.

Unfortunately, "we still have  problem with the Turkish-Cypriot side," he added.

Eroglu has ruled out a UN-led census in the north, saying that the Turkish Cypriots will hold their own census, according to comments reported by Anadolu Agency.

Christofias' proposal cannot be accepted by the Turkish-Cypriot side, which is "a separate state and a separate administration on our own," said Eroglu.

Special Representative Alexander Downer will try and persuade the Turkish-Cypriot side into agreeing to a census, said Christofias.

The issue of population ratios has always been a source of disagreement between the sides, with the Greek-Cypriot side claiming a majority in population size, and the Turkish-Cypriot side seeking to increase its size by granting 'citizenship' in the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to tens of thousands of Turks from the mainland. Each sides' claims have an impact on political power sharing as the jockeying for the strongest positions continues.

The next reunification talks meeting between the leaders is planned for March 30th in the latest round of negotiations that have been going on since 2008.

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