Cyprus back on agenda

Turkey indicated yesterday that it was ready to discuss anew the reunification of Cyprus, as Greece revealed that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will visit Athens this week on a trip that will also take him to Cyprus and Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul signaled that he would be making an announcement today which could prompt a new initiative to unite the divided island. «The lack of a settlement benefits neither the Turkish Cypriots nor the Greek Cypriots,» said Gul. «We want to reach a comprehensive solution under the supervision of the United Nations.» Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said Athens had information that Ankara would submit proposals to the UN today. Reports in Turkey said that Ankara would ask UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to relaunch the talks between the two sides and to lift all restrictions on the island. Turkey has come under strong pressure to help resolve the Cyprus problem as Ankara steps up its efforts to join the European Union, but Athens moved quickly to distinguish between the two processes. «I categorically state that any thought, opportunity, proposal or effort to restart the effort to achieve a solution [in Cyprus] has no link to the obligations Turkey has taken on as an EU membership candidate,» said Koumoutsakos. Meanwhile, Athens revealed that Jack Straw will stop in Athens on Thursday for talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis. Straw will arrive in Athens after visiting Cyprus – a trip that has already proved to be controversial. Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has refused to meet with Straw after the British foreign secretary arranged talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Straw will instead hold talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou before meeting Talat. Koumoutsakos said that Athens was in constant contact with Nicosia when asked whether Straw’s talks with Karamanlis would create a rift between Greece and Cyprus. Straw and Karamanlis are also expected to discuss allegations that Greek and British secret agents abducted Pakistani migrants in Greece for questioning in connection with last year’s terrorist bombings in London.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.