NEWS

Nicosia: Turkey killed UN plan

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday blamed «longstanding Turkish intransigence» for the failure to reunify the divided island and expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriots will soon return to negotiations. [Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Both stressed the need for a peace deal on Cyprus before next December, when European Union officials are to discuss Turkey’s request for a date for the initiation of its EU accession talks. The two ministers also agreed on the need to boost bilateral confidence-boosting measures.] Papadopoulos told the General Assembly that the lack of a settlement on Cyprus by the May 1, 2004 date for it to join the EU would create «practical problems» which, nevertheless, can be dealt with. «We understand and share the bitterness of all involved for the failure,» he said, adding that «we should not give up.» «We hope that soon it will be possible for the other side to realize that they have to return to the negotiating table, cooperate constructively with the (UN) secretary-general and demonstrate the necessary political will to yield a settlement,» Papadopoulos said. He blamed Turkey for the impasse, saying «longstanding Turkish intransigence has a few months ago thwarted what was probably the strongest ever initiative of the United Nations for finding a solution in Cyprus.» Papadopoulos said his government continues to count on UN support and involvement to reach a settlement. [Papadopoulos and Papandreou were due to meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the sidelines of the assembly.]