Cyprus is edgy over Straw visit

Nicosia yesterday said its relationship with London would suffer if British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw goes ahead with a planned visit to Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat later this month. «It would be most distressing if relations between Cyprus and Britain were to be upset over this matter,» Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said. Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides described as «crafty» Straw’s remarks that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots are setting up obstacles. «If anyone is setting up obstacles it is Turkey with its occupation of the northern part of the island,» he said, accusing Straw of equating victim with aggressor. Britain’s refusal to take seriously Nicosia’s sensitivities is «extremely discouraging,» Chrysostomides added. Nicosia has said it does not object to Straw’s planned meeting with Talat in principle but to the tacit recognition of the illegal breakaway state that would be implied if the meeting were to take place in his official office as has been reported.

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