NEWS

Talat, in US, calls for end to isolation

Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, at the United Nations, called for an end to the embargo on his breakaway state in northern Cyprus and economic assistance. Later, the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot administration met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell. After talks with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Talat said Greek Cypriots were now responsible for Cyprus’s division after rejecting Annan’s reunification plan in the April 24 referendum. Turkish Cypriots will not enjoy the benefits of EU accession even though they voted in favor of reunification. In Brussels, Guenter Verheugen, the commissioner for EU enlargement, repeated claims that Cypriot leaders had given assurances that they would not block a solution to the Cyprus problem. Verheugen’s spokesman named current President Tassos Papadopoulos and former President Glafcos Clerides. The former opposed Annan’s plan while the latter backed it. «In 1999, at the Helsinki summit, it was decided to uncouple the solution of the Cyprus problem from Cyprus’s EU accession, while Mr Clerides had informally given assurances that the Republic of Cyprus would not be the one to hinder a solution to the Cyprus problem,» the spokesman said. «This assurance was repeated by Mr Papadopoulos to Commissioner Verheugen,» he added. Papadopoulos has said he gave no assurances. At the United Nations, Talat urged Annan to help end the isolation of Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus. «Unfortunately, division has been consolidated by the Greek-Cypriot decision,» Talat told reporters. «So it is not fair to continue the isolation of Turkish Cypriots,» he added. «Turkish Cypriots should be freed, should have international contacts, should have access to the world, the international system, and removal of the isolation will be the best for the time being. And this was our request from the secretary-general,» he said. Early yesterday, a grenade slightly damaged the Limassol home of Nikos Anastasiades, the main Greek-Cypriot opposition leader, but nobody was hurt. «This is an attack on democracy,» Anastasiades, who had campaigned in favor of Annan’s plan, said.