NEWS

PM opposed to Cyprus accord intervention

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday stressed the need for a Cyprus settlement to be reached between the two communities on the island without any interventions. Speaking after talks with Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias in Nicosia, Karamanlis said United Nations-mediated negotiations «should continue until a settlement is reached… without the intervention of third parties and imposed deadlines.» The Greek premier reportedly agreed with Christofias that last weekend’s election victory for hardline nationalists in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus would hinder the progress of peace talks. Referring to the outcome as «a not-so-pleasant development,» Christofias said Greece’s support was particularly crucial in this phase of the peace process. «Negotiations with the Turkish-Cypriot side have not seen the progress we had hoped for,» Christofias said. According to sources, the two men discussed strategies for boosting Nicosia’s negotiating position in talks. Karamanlis is expected to promote Nicosia’s position today during talks on the sidelines of an international summit on natural gas in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Karamanlis yesterday also reiterated Greece’s support for Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. «We believe that a Turkey that will adopt European rules of conduct… will be a Turkey much better for its citizens and the EU as a whole,» he said. He added that Turkey was still far from meeting EU preconditions «but this should lead, now, to a change in strategy.» Christofias said he thought Ankara’s EU accession prospects could act as an «incentive for Turkey to cooperate in finding a just solution.» The Cyprus problem was also the focus of talks in Washington late on Tuesday between Cypriot Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who reportedly stressed Washington’s support for peace talks.