NEWS

Next round for Cyprus in NY

As Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash held their last meeting in the sixth round of current negotiations to end the Cyprus problem, Turkey’s foreign minister was quoted as saying his country would never allow the Turkish Cypriots to become «a non-existent people» in a «non-existent state.» This appeared to be another rejection of a Cypriot federation that UN resolutions call for. Clerides and Denktash will be meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York on Thursday and Friday. However, the EU commissioner in charge of enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, said in Paris on Wednesday that Cyprus would be joining the EU according to plan and this was not dependant on the island’s division first being solved. Verheugen mentioned the decision taken at the EU summit in Helsinki in 1999, which made clear that Cyprus’s accession would not be held up by a lack of a solution but that all pertinent factors would be considered. The EU leaders are to decide in Copenhagen in December whether Cyprus and others will join. «The message is clear. We will stick to our timetable,» Verheugen said. Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel held talks in London with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw yesterday and in Copenhagen with Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller on Wednesday. A Turkish-Cypriot radio station quoted Gurel as making the «non-existent state» quote after meeting Straw. Moeller, whose country currently holds the EU rotating presidency said: «The European Union does not negotiate on the unification of Cyprus… There are negotiations between the parties and the United Nations.» On a visit to Turkey, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said, «We want to see Turkey in the EU. Greece will cooperate with Turkey in its membership process.»