NEWS

Cyprus accession not tied to reunification

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, whose country holds the EU’s six-month rotating presidency, said yesterday that the EU will decide on Cyprus’s accession irrespective of whether UN-sponsored reunification talks succeed. Aznar said the talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash «will advance Cyprus’s accession course.» «But I want to make clear that the decision of the EU (for the accession of Cyprus) will be taken irrespective of the outcome of the talks, and I reaffirmed this position to President Clerides today,» he said. His visit was part of a tour of candidate countries. In a brief report to the US Congress on Monday, President George W. Bush said, «The United States remains committed to the UN effort to find a just and lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem.» Denktash yesterday accused the EU and Britain of having «decided that the island belongs to the Greek Cypriots.» In an interview with Italy’s Lime magazine, Denktashclaimed that «the Greek Cypriots are looking for an opportunity for a clash to rid themselves of the Turkish presence on the island.»