Greece tells UN to restart Cyprus talks

A new international effort to reunify Cyprus has moved closer to reality after Greece publicly threw its weight behind fresh talks on the basis of a UN plan that failed last year.

    UN chief Annan has pushed for the reunification of the island

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said after meeting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday that "everybody now agrees" that reunification talks for the divided Mediterranean island should be re-launched.

       

    Although Molyviatis did not name them, the four parties holding the key to fresh talks are the Turkish Cypriot north, the Greek Cypriot south, Greece and Turkey.

       

    "We expressed the view that there is a convergence now of views to the effect that we should restart the process of reunifying the island on the basis of the secretary-general's plan," Molyviatis said at the UN headquarters after talks with Annan.

       

    Papadopoulos asked the UN to
    restart talks on unification

    "And we should make sure that this time there is no failure. We cannot afford another failure."

     

    Public call

       

    Annan had no immediate comment on their meeting.

     

    Molyviatis spoke 11 days after Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos publicly called on the United Nations to restart talks on resolving the island's ethnic partition.

       

    Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot north, recognised only by Turkey, and an internationally recognised Greek Cypriot south since a Turkish invasion in 1974, triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.

     

    In twin referendums held in April 2004, Turkish Cypriots voted to accept Annan's blueprint for ending more than three decades of partition on the divided Mediterranean island, but their richer and more numerous Greek counterparts rejected it.


    Crucial issue

     

    "We should make sure that this time there is no failure. We cannot afford another failure"

    Petros Molyviatis,
    Greek Foreign Minister

    Following the Annan plan's defeat, the island joined the European Union divided, represented in practice only by the government in the south.

       

    Resolving the issue is now crucial to Turkey's aim of joining the EU.

       

    But the UN has made it clear on several occasions that reunification talks can resume only after the Greek Cypriots clearly spell out the changes they want to make to the plan rejected by their people.

       

    Ankara is due to start entry talks with Europe in October.

       

    Nicosia has warned it could block the process if Turkey failed by then to tacitly recognise the republic by extending an existing customs union that Ankara has with all 25 EU members.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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