Denktash insists on statehood, presidency

Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash took a tough stance yesterday over resuming peace talks with the Cypriot government, insisting any future negotiations would have to be on a state-to-state basis. «If talks are to begin, they have to be based on the principles of the existence of statehood,» Denktash said at an international economic forum held at Crans Montana in Switzerland. Denktash has, for years, lobbied for recognition of the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus as a legitimate national entity and for himself as its president, thus derailing successive peace efforts. In February, the Turkish-Cypriot leader rejected a blueprint by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan intended to achieve a solution before the April signing of Cyprus’s EU accession agreement. «The way forward… is for the world to give up its well-meaning but futile attempts to force us back together. Instead, they should remove the economic embargo and accept the government Turkish-Cypriot people have elected,» Denktash said in a statement issued during a presentation to the forum. «In time, the two peoples of Cyprus will move closer together in their own way and at their own pace.»

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