NEWS

Diplomatic dinner under tight security

Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is scheduled to cross Nicosia’s Green Line for the first time since the Turkish invasion of 1974 to have dinner with President Glafcos Clerides in their renewed effort to end their island’s division. But fears of demonstrations have prompted all political parties and Archbishop Chrysostomos to express support for the meeting, while police are calling for calm and preparing measures to prevent any incidents that could harm progress toward solving the Cyprus problem. Denktash’s visit to Clerides is in return for Clerides’s visit to Turkish-occupied Nicosia for dinner at Denktash’s house earlier this month. The diplomatic dinners are aimed at preparing the ground for the beginning of direct, UN-mediated talks scheduled to begin in Nicosia on January 16. Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou expressed the belief that there will not be any «hot heads» who will cause harm to Cyprus, and he explained that the time is critical for there to be any negative developments for the Cypriot people. The government called for people to take a «responsible attitude.» Denktash represents «our compatriots, the Turkish Cypriots, with whom we must talk to find a solution,» Papapetrou said. Justice Minister Nikos Koshis said all members of the police force will be mobilized so as to ensure security for the Turkish-Cypriot leader. Talking to the Cyprus News Agency, Koshis said all measures are being taken to avoid problems, noting that he had faith in the maturity of the Cypriot people. A police office had been set up to coordinate security and if necessary some roads would be closed to traffic to facilitate Denktash’s entourage, Koshis said. He said that there had been some contacts with groups and recommendations made, indicating that some Greek Cypriots were planning to protest at Denktash’s visit. Relatives of those missing since 1974 say they will hold a peaceful protest today, while student organizations say they are planning a gathering in Nicosia’s main square, the Agence France-Presse reported. Chrysostomos, leader of the Church of Cyprus, said that as long as efforts were being made to find a solution there should be such social meetings, contacts and negotiations. What is important, he said, is what position each side will take in the contacts. «Two days ago, (Fotiadis) threw the committee’s decision in the dustbin,» a statement said. «What value, therefore, does his invitation to municipalities to appeal again to the same committee have?»