NEWS

Bakoyannis calls for new Cyprus effort

New Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday called for a fresh initiative to solve the Cyprus problem following talks with her visiting Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou, but both stressed that success was imperative after the failure of a United Nations-backed effort two years ago. «The next initiative should be something new… no one can deal with another failure,» Bakoyannis said after talks with Iacovou. «Conditions are ripe (for another attempt), but I have to say that this initiative has to be prepared very carefully,» Iacovou said. The ministers agreed that a fresh attempt should be based on «well-prepared negotiations» with no «stifling time frames for agreement» if it is to be successful. Bakoyannis yesterday described as «history» the plan by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the reunification of Cyprus, which was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a 2004 referendum. Bakoyannis had supported the Annan plan at that time. Meanwhile, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, who was stopping off in Thessaloniki on his way back to Cyprus from Vienna, told reporters that he and Annan would examine the feasibility of relaunching peace talks when they meet in Paris next Tuesday. But Papadopoulos stressed that there could be no progress on Cyprus «if Turkey continues its intransigence.» Papadopoulos, due to visit Athens on March 8 for talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, also rejected allegations of his government’s dissatisfaction with Bakoyannis’s recent appointment as foreign minister as «nonsense.» Following her talks with Iacovou yesterday, Bakoyannis also stressed that «efforts to find a Cyprus solution should not be linked or confused with Turkey’s obligations to the European Union.» Meanwhile, in what was interpreted by some as a Cypriot effort to force Turkey into accepting EU demands to open its ports to Cypriot vessels, a Cypriot ship moored about 3 kilometers from Turkey’s Aegean port of Mersin yesterday morning. The container ship Able F was refused permission to moor at Mersin, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan confirmed yesterday.