UN raps Denktash for refusing talks

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – UN Security Council members criticized Turkish Cypriots yesterday for refusing to resume negotiations about Cyprus and rejected any preconditions for future talks. Rauf Denktash, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, refused to attend talks with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President Glafcos Clerides, the Greek-Cypriot leader, in New York this month, saying the groundwork was not in place. Council members expressed disappointment at the unjustified decision by the Turkish side to decline that invitation, French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, this month’s council president, said after a closed-door session. The council encouraged Annan and Alvaro de Soto, his special adviser on Cyprus, to follow earlier UN guidelines namely that there should be no preconditions and that all issues are on the table, Levitte said. Denktash has said UN negotiations, broken off last November, could restart only if he were acknowledged as an equal to Clerides. Britain’s UN ambassador, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, told reporters his country was pleased the council was pointing a finger at the side that has declined the secretary-general’s invitation. It is quite clear that Mr. Denktash on the Turkish-Cypriot side is not inclined to follow the secretary-general’s lead to try once and for all to find a settlement to the Cyprus problem, he said. There is no reason not to talk about everything, but there must be no preconditions, because if one side sets preconditions, then the other side will.

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