NEWS

PM sees no new plan on Cyprus

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis played down fears, reiterated by Nicosia yesterday, that the United Nations peace blueprint rejected by Greek Cypriots in April could be revived and linked with Turkey’s European Union accession talks. «I have no indication that there is going to be renewed interest in solving the Cyprus issue, and you must not link solution of the problem with the start of Turkey’s accession talks,» the PM told journalists during a luncheon meeting yesterday. «With the form of the Annan plan that we know, the peace talks cannot be repeated.» As Turkish Cypriots voted for the blueprint drafted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on April 24, Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected it. Last week’s EU summit wrung out of Ankara a promise to extend its EU customs union deal to Cyprus and the other nine new member-states by October 3, when Turkey’s accession talks are to start. This is seen as a goodwill gesture, as Ankara refuses to recognize Cyprus. But there has been speculation that the matter will be linked with a new bid to revive the Annan plan. In Nicosia, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides voiced such fears yesterday. Meanwhile, Turkish officials said accession talks might be delayed for months.