FM talks Cyprus in New York

Turkey must show respect for the United Nations decisions calling for a federal state on Cyprus with no foreign occupation forces, and redouble efforts to attain a solution to the island’s division by December, Foreign Minister George Papandreou was to tell the UN General Assembly in New York late yesterday. Papandreou, who on Saturday discussed Cyprus with US State Department Undersecretary Marc Grossman and the US envoy on Cyprus, Thomas Weston, will meet Secretary of State Colin Powell today. He is expected to ask his US counterpart to pressure Turkey to stop threatening military action or annexation of occupied northern Cyprus in the case of the island joining the European Union while still divided. The EU is expected to formally welcome Cyprus among its members in mid-December. Late on Friday (US time), Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel told the UN General Assembly that the EU must stop Cyprus’s accession until ongoing – and, so far, fruitless – talks between the Cypriot government and the Turkish-Cypriot leadership have produced a settlement. «The EU decision to start accession negotiations with the Greek Cypriot administration, despite the illegitimacy of its claim to represent the whole island, has made an agreed settlement even more elusive,» he said. Gurel reaffirmed Ankara’s support for Turkish-Cypriot proposals for a settlement «on the basis of the equal status and sovereign equality of two partner states.» The UN is expected to submit a peace plan on Cyprus after new bicommunal talks start in New York on October 3-4. These follow a meeting between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in Paris on September 6. (Combined reports)

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