Athens, Nicosia wary of Eroglu

Officials in Nicosia and Athens gave a cautious reception to Sunday’s election victory by Turkish-Cypriot nationalist Dervis Eroglu as the European Commission stressed the importance of momentum being maintained in peace talks. «Now that Mr Eroglu has been elected leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community, it is crucial that the settlement talks go on. The Commission encourages Mr Eroglu to continue in a constructive spirit the efforts toward a settlement and reunification,» the EC said in a statement. In Athens, Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras sought to strike a similar note, saying it was «self-evident» that progress made so far in United Nations-mediated talks on the island should be safeguarded. Delavekouras called on Eroglu to approach talks with Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias with «a constructive outlook and clear will for a solution.» In Nicosia, the concerns fueled by Eroglu’s election were much clearer. Cypriot government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou told reporters that his election «created serious problems» for reunification negotiations. «The election of Mr Eroglu is an unfortunate development in view of his longstanding and declared positions against a federal solution and in favor of the creation of two states on Cyprus,» Stefanou said. Eroglu himself sought to send out a positive message. «We will search for a way to reach consensus,» he told supporters after Sunday’s results were announced. But worries were fueled by reports that there had been no communication between Eroglu and Christofias by Monday. The outlook for talks on Cyprus is to feature on the agenda of discussions expected to take place later this week between Greece’s Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The two men are to meet on the sidelines of an unofficial summit of NATO counterparts in the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

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