Turkey wants Cyprus talks

ISTANBUL (AP) – Ankara wants to gather Turkish- and Greek-Cypriot leaders as well as representatives of Greece and Britain for talks to solve the nearly 30-year division of Cyprus, Turkey’s prime minister said late on Thursday. UN-backed talks to reunify the island before Cyprus signs its accession agreement with the European Union on April 16 failed earlier this month. Turkish and Greek Cypriots «with the three guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece and Britain, (should) come together and quickly start talks about how to solve this,» Turkey’s new prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in a television interview late on Thursday. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had started preparing for such a meeting, Erdogan said. The premier criticized the reunification plan proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, stating that it amounted to Turkey «giving up Cyprus.» [Late yesterday, Turkish-Cypriot opposition groups were planning to hold a symbolic referendum in the occupied town of Cyrenia on acceptance of Annan’s plan.]

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