NEWS

Weston enters Cyprus ‘confusion’

NICOSIA – US envoy Thomas Weston arrived in Cyprus yesterday to press for a speedy resumption of UN-sponsored reunification talks after a weekend poll setback for Turkish-Cypriot nationalist leader Rauf Denktash, seen as the main hurdle to a settlement. Weston was due to meet with President Tassos Papadopoulos later yesterday before crossing over the Green Line today for talks with Denktash and opposition politicians. Weston, who arrived here from Athens, was then due to travel on to Ankara today for talks with the Turkish government, the only one to recognize Denktash’s breakaway state. Sunday’s polls gave the pro-reunification opposition a majority of the popular vote but left the breakaway Parliament evenly divided with the outgoing coalition. «This particular trip of mine is coming at a very interesting time in the wake of the electoral process in the north and the rather confusing situation which has emerged,» Weston told reporters. He added that his job was to «do what I can, even in the face of that confusion to push toward what we have been trying all along… a settlement on Cyprus.» Denktash has threatened to call new polls within two months if the opposition does not agree to form a broad coalition with his supporters. After talks with Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Athens on Tuesday, Weston said he was not prepared to allow Cyprus’s future to be held hostage to Turkish-Cypriot internal politics. [Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the party that won the most votes, said yesterday: «If we get the mandate to form a government, our priority will be solve the Cyprus issue by May 1.»]