US wants to monitor Cyprus poll

The USA would like objective observers to monitor the December 14 polls for a house of representatives in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus «to ensure they are fair and free,» US special envoy for Cyprus Thomas Weston said in Ankara yesterday after talks with Turkish officials. «We have expressed some interest in having objective observers monitor the whole electoral process, not just the election day,» he told Agence France-Presse. As nobody – save Turkey – recognizes the occupied territories as a legitimate state, these observers should come from non-governmental organizations, Weston suggested. Nicosia opposes the idea of observers for fear this would constitute indirect recognition of the occupied north and its election process. Yesterday, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said there was no real international interest in sending observers to the north. He added that Nicosia believes it will be hard for the vote to reflect the will of the Turkish-Cypriots, «due to the great number of [Turkish] settlers that has been added to the electoral rolls.» Weston is due in Athens today.