Cyprus rejects 5-party talks

Nicosia yesterday dismissed a proposal by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a new round of peace talks among the Cypriot government, the Turkish-Cypriot leadership and representatives of the island’s three guarantor powers – Britain, Greece and Turkey. Government spokesman Cypros Chryssostomidis said the United Nations – which unsuccessfully spearheaded a peace proposal last year – was the only forum «where attempts for a solution may bear fruit, with the support of the European Union.» In a television interview late on Thursday, Erdogan said his foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, had started planning for a meeting between the five parties, which «should come together and quickly start talks.» Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash backed the idea. Cyprus is due to sign its European Union accession agreement on April 16 in Athens.