Denktash won’t leave the table

Defying opposition leaders, Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has ruled out stepping down as negotiator on Cyprus’s reunification even if his political opponents win December’s vote in the island’s Turkish-occupied north. According to an Athens News Agency report from Nicosia on Saturday, the veteran Turkish-Cypriot leader said the position went with his office of «president» of the northern territories, a self-declared independent state that only Turkey acknowledges as such. «If the opposition parties win the elections, all they can do is give me instructions which I will not be able to carry out,» Denktash was quoted as saying. In lieu of explanation, he said that he had promised his people to reach a solution involving two equal sovereign states. The three major opposition parties have formed a common front ahead of the December 19 elections for deputies in the Turkish-Cypriot assembly, and have pledged, should they win, to oust Denktash from the negotiating table in an attempt to effect a deal with the government in Nicosia.