NEWS

Annan may join talks on Cyprus

Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis met yesterday with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s mediator in the Cyprus reunification talks, Alvaro de Soto, and said that Greece was working toward a viable and functional solution for the Cyprus problem. Molyviatis, on his first full day on the job after Sunday’s elections, discussed Cyprus and other issues also in a telephone call with US Secretary of State Colin Powell. De Soto was in Athens to meet with the new conservative government and brief it on developments in the talks that he is mediating between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. «It was a useful meeting,» Molyviatis said. In New York, Annan was asked whether he will join the Cypriot leaders and Greek and Turkish officials when the talks move to Switzerland if Papadopoulos and Denktash do not reach a deal by March 22. «The parties are moving, things are moving ahead slowly,» Annan said. «We will stick to the timetable that we have agreed to which also entails my own involvement if the parties will not reach an agreement between themselves by the 22nd, 23rd of March.» He added: «So it is likely, yes, that I will be involved… I don’t know where it will be, but it is possible.» De Soto said he did not think it was possible to extend the talks. «We are already running up against a very tight calendar,» he said. Papadopoulos is to hold talks with the government in Athens on Sunday.