Turkish doubts over Cyprus talks

Turkey has said that Greek Cypriots have failed to show sufficient desire to resolve the decades-old division of Cyprus through peace talks with Turkish Cypriots.

    Denktash(L) and Papadopoulos (R) began talks last month

    "It has become obvious that the Greek Cypriot side does not have any political will and desire for a settlement," the spokesman of the Turkish foreign ministry, Namik Tan, told reporters on Wednesday in Ankara.

      

    "Greek Cypriots have rejected without discussion limited and reasonable proposals put forward by the Turkish side," he said.

     

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Tassos Papadopoulos last month began last-minute UN-sponsored talks to end their division before 1 May when Cyprus is set to join the European Union.

     

    Comfort

      

    If the effort fails, only the internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government in the south will join the EU, while the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north will be left out in the cold.

      

    Tan charged that the Greek Cypriots "seem to enjoy the comfort of (guaranteed) EU membership on 1 May " .

     

    Greek Cypriots "seem to enjoy the comfort of (guaranteed) EU membership on 1 May "

    Namik Tan,
    spokesman, foreign ministry,
    Turkey

    Turkey has long accused the EU of encouraging intransigence on the Greek Cypriot side by promising them membership with or without a settlement.

      

    The latest round of talks in Cyprus began after an unprecedented peace push by Turkey, which has occupied and financially propped up the Turkish Cypriot north since 1974.

      

    Ankara worries that a failure to resolve the conflict in time could trigger tensions with Brussels and undermine its own bid to join the EU.

      

    Turkey and Greece, motherlands of the two Cypriot communities, will intervene in the negotiations if Denktash and Papadopoulos fail to resolve differences on a UN peace plan by 22 March.

     

    If they also fail to reach an accord a week later, UN chief Kofi Annan will have the final word on outstanding issues. The text will be then put to public vote on both sides in referendums on 20 April.

    SOURCE: AFP


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