NEWS

Annan making plans for Cyprus

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is looking for ways to revive his effort to solve the Cyprus issue with a resumption of talks this fall, sources in Cyprus say. Cypriot political parties have been told that Annan is thinking of holding separate meetings with President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in New York, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. This follows a statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who told reporters in London on Friday that Ankara wants the talks to be revived this year. «We obviously desire… (that) in the second half of the year we will reach a solution with the sponsorship of the United Nations,» Reuters quoted Gul as saying. Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides responded on Saturday that the Greek-Cypriot side was ready to start negotiations on the basis of Annan’s plan, with the aim of making the necessary changes to make it functional. But he said that with current conditions and the inflexible stance shown by Denktash and Ankara he could not see how Gul’s wish could come true. Efforts to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of a plan drawn up by Annan fell apart in early March over Denktash’s demands that his breakaway state be recognized. Pope John Paul II yesterday lamented the failure of Annan’s plan. «The Holy See… was greatly saddened that the plan for peace and reunification presented last year… did not gain the necessary consensus with the parties involved and was thus not accepted,» he told George Poulides, the new Cypriot ambassador. «It is to be hoped that the current climate of a growing European integration and an increasing European unity will provide renewed impetus and resolve to efforts aimed at finally overcoming this crisis,» the pope said, Agence France-Presse reported.