Denktash given deadline

Stepping up a series of shuttle trips across the cease-fire line in Nicosia to sound out Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots on a new round of United-Nations sponsored indirect talks on the island’s reunification, UN special envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will meet Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides again today. He will then hold his third meeting in four days with Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who has so far shown no inclination to climb down from his demand for recognition of the occupied territories as a legal state entity as a prerequisite for entering new talks. Speaking late on Friday after a meeting with de Soto, Denktash said there was no common ground for renewal of the talks on reunification he abandoned last year demanding recognition. De Soto saw Clerides on Saturday. According to Cyprus’s RIK state television, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenther Verheugen told Denktash during their meeting last week that the Turkish Cypriot leader only had until the end of next year to cooperate towards a solution. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou is due in Nicosia tomorrow for a two-day visit during which he will consult with top Cypriot officials on the prospect of a new round of talks. In Ankara yesterday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a strongly-worded attack on European Parliament rapporteur on Cyprus Jacques Poos, whose report to be discussed by the EP tomorrow says that Turkey’s EU accession course will be halted if it annexes the island’s occupied north. A ministry statement called the report full of negativeness and irresponsible, accusing Poos of an anti-Turkish bias.

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