Cyprus ready for UN talks, president says

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday his country was ready to return any time to UN talks to end the island’s division. In an interview, Papadopoulos said the Greek-Cypriot side needed clarification and negotiation on a number of points to make a deal function better and be «more viable.» «We have done a lot of work and are ready for talks any time the (UN) secretary-general calls us,» Papadopoulos said. He said Turkish government officials appeared to be paying lip service to the need for a solution and shared the thinking of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, accused by the UN of impeding progress. But he said chances of a breakthrough this year were slim. «The crucial issue is the functionality of the plan, especially as regards our obligations toward the EU… otherwise we will have great difficulties in functioning as a constructive member,» he said.