NEWS

Clerides: Turks lack political will

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said yesterday he would be happy to accept Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s offer of face-to-face talks, but only under the umbrella of the UN which is seeking reunification of the island. Clerides said he did not want to substitute the negotiating process under UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for direct talks with Denktash. Addressing the General Assembly, Clerides called Denktash’s refusal to resume indirect proximity talks under the UN particularly disturbing. The reason for the failure to make progress, he said, is the lack of political will by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. They have abandoned the concept of a single state with two politically equal communities called for by the Security Council, he said. At a press conference afterwards, asked if he realistically expected the Cyprus problem to be solved in his and Denktash’s lifetime, the 82-year-old president said I have not decided when I’m going to leave this planet, and I don’t think Rauf Denktash has decided either. So let’s utilize the time that we have. Another 67.3 percent subscribed to the belief that no war against terrorism can be justified unless injustice and poverty, which give birth to terrorism, are first eradicated.