NEWS

Denktash threat to quit talks

After a ninth meeting yesterday with President Tassos Papadopoulos failed to bring the Cyprus peace talks any closer to a breakthrough, Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash threatened to quit as negotiator if his basic demands are not met. «If we cannot include our sine qua nons in the agreement, the Turkish Cypriots will be destroyed,» Denktash told supporters in Ankara yesterday, where he was to have urgent talks with top Turkish officials. «Then I will quit and tell our people not to accept such an agreement.» Denktash also insisted that hopes of having a deal sealed by May 1, when Cyprus is to enter the European Union, were no more than «a fantasy.» Earlier yesterday, Denktash rejected Greek-Cypriot proposals on the return of Turkish-occupied land, during a meeting with Papadopoulos. Meanwhile, Nicosia expressed deep annoyance with Wednesday’s remarks by Britain’s foreign secretary on the consequences of a «no» vote during the April 21 referendum on the UN peace blueprint.