NEWS

Denktash won’t have new talks

Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday said he would not engage in new negotiations on a solution to the Cyprus problem later this year, arguing that there was no life left in the UN blueprint for a deal that he rejected in March. Speaking to journalists after talks in the occupied part of Nicosia with US State Department envoy for Cyprus Thomas Weston, Denktash said Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos was also uncomfortable with the plan drawn up last year by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a last-ditch effort to patch a deal together before Cyprus’s official accession to the European Union, concluded during a ceremony in Athens on April 16. «Having in mind the positions of the Greek-Cypriot side and the alterations it wants made to the Annan plan, and knowing the changes I want, it is impossible to revive [the UN plan],» Denktash said. The Turkish-Cypriot leader also rejected the idea of new negotiations in the autumn. Weston, who on Friday had talks with Papadopoulos, said his discussion with Denktash had been «very good, and lively.» During his meeting with Weston, Papadopoulos raised the matter of advances by Turkish occupation forces into the village of Strovilia. According to a Cypriot Foreign Ministry official quoted by the Athens News Agency, the president called for Washington to exert pressure on the powerful Turkish military to restore the previous status quo to the area of Strovilia. Meanwhile, the same official said Nicosia had already made strong remonstrations to the United Nations regarding the alleged presence of Turkish security agents in a meeting on Friday between representatives of the UN peacekeeping force on Cyprus and a delegation of Strovilia’s inhabitants. The Turkish officials reportedly videotaped the meeting. EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenther Verheugen was due on Cyprus late yesterday for talks with Turkish-Cypriot officials over an EU aid package.