Clerides: Better a known rival

Rauf Denktash, the embattled Turkish-Cypriot leader, received help from an unexpected quarter yesterday – his longtime rival in the efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, President Glafcos Clerides. Mass demonstrations and opposition parties have demanded that Denktash sign a UN deal with Clerides or resign, so that a united Cyprus can join the EU. «After two people have been meeting and have brought the effort to a certain point, having different negotiators take over will create several difficulties,» Clerides told the Turkish daily Hurriyet. «We might even go back to the beginning,» he said. «If we make progress, this could be done in a couple of months. If we don’t make progress, we will miss the opportunity for a solution,» said Clerides, who is standing for reelection next month. His spokesman, Michalis Papapetrou, objected that the Hurriyet’s headline «Keep Denktash» was misleading. Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis told the Turkish Daily News that if a deal is not reached by the Feb. 28 deadline the aim would be to reach one by April 16.

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