NEWS

Cypriot leaders begin talks today

President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are to meet in Nicosia today for the first of what is intended be an intensive, open-ended round of negotiations aimed at ending their island’s division. Although the issue of the some 2,000 people who have been missing since the Turkish invasion of 1974 is intended to be discussed separately and in parallel to the main talks, Denktash is expected to present a document today with his side’s suggestions for a series of practical measures aimed at resolving this highly emotive issue. This is in response to a document sent to him by Clerides on Friday, which was delivered by the UN secretary-general’s deputy special representative in Cyprus, Zbigniew Wlosowicz. The talks today are expected to begin with the core issue of a constitution for a united Cyprus and how power will be shared. Clerides and Denktash will be accompanied by aides and will meet in the presence of the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto and his aides. The talks are scheduled to be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m., far from the eyes of the news media, in a special section of Nicosia Airport, which has not been used since the Turkish invasion. In the Greek-Cypriots’ paper on the issue of the missing, much emphasis has been placed on those people whom witnesses saw being captured alive. If it emerges that these people are no longer alive, the document said, then their graves must be pointed out, their remains exhumed and their identity determined by DNA analysis, the Athens News Agency reported from Nicosia. The document said that the issue is purely humanitarian and would not be used for political purposes, the ANA said.