NEWS

Turkey pays lip service to UN plan

Turkey’s top civilian and military leaders called yesterday for new negotiations to reunite Cyprus on the basis of a plan proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. But the Turkish National Security Council’s reference to the «realities of the island» could imply a demand for recognition of the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state, something that the Annan plan does not provide for and which Greek Cypriots will not accept. EU leaders have said that failure to reunify Cyprus before it joins the EU on May 1 could jeopardize Turkey’s own chances of EU membership. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to meet with Annan in Davos, Switzerland today and with President George W. Bush next week at the White House. «Turkey continues to support the United Nations secretary-general’s goodwill mission and renews its political determination to rapidly reach a solution that takes the Annan plan as a reference and is based on the realities of the island,» the National Security Council said after its Friday meeting. Annan, speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos, did not seem to take the Turkish announcement as an end to the impasse. «I’m not aware of a breakthrough,» he said. «There is a plan on the table and I’ve indicated that my good services are available once the parties show the will and the determination (and) want to settle.» (AP, Reuters)