NEWS

PM: Annan effort ‘must continue’

Greece yesterday called for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s efforts to reunify Cyprus to continue, while Nicosia said it had informed the UN that it wanted negotiations to resume as soon as possible. The comments came after Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus on Friday, during which he called for recognition of the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state, something that Cyprus, Greece and the UN rule out. «The UN secretary-general’s efforts must continue,» PM Costas Simitis said in a speech to European publishers in Athens yesterday. He hailed the easing of restrictions which have allowed Greek and Turkish Cypriots to cross the Green Line on their island since April 23. Some 350,000 people have crossed the dividing line. «The true wish of the Turkish-Cypriot community was shown when tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots crossed the dividing line – which they had been forbidden to do for 30 years – and showed that they want to live with the Greek Cypriots, while at the same time many Greek Cypriots crossed to the other side and proved that they have no problem with the Turkish Cypriots,» Simitis said. «The two communities can live together without friction and disputes.»  Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said that Nicosia had informed Annan through his special representative in Nicosia, Zbigniew Wlosowicz, and EU countries that the Greek Cypriots wished to see the resumption of talks as soon as possible. The UN, Cyprus and Greece have said, however, that unless Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash stops rejecting Annan’s plan, any effort to negotiate will be fruitless. Denktash repeated his position in an interview with CNN-Turk yesterday. «We insist on the resumption of talks on the basis of all that had been discussed at The Hague,» Chrysostomides said, referring to the venue where talks collapsed in March. Cyprus then signed an accession treaty with the EU on April 16 and if no deal is reached, only Greek Cypriots will join the EU next May. Turkish settlers, who are not allowed to cross the Green Line, protested yesterday that they had been turned into «second- or third-rate» citizens.