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Denktash stalls party leaders' effort to resume UN talks
2003-05-05 18:52:52

Nicosia, May 5 (CNA) - A proposal by United Democrats leader George Vassiliou for political parties from both sides of the divide to ask the UN Secretary General to resume negotiations for a Cyprus settlement has been rejected here Monday after so-called ''vice-president'' of the Turkish occupation regime, Serdar Denktash, cast a ''no'' vote.

Vassiliou expressed his regret after the regular meeting of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties at the Ledra Palace in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia.

He told reporters Denktash believes that at this stage the measures announced should continue before such a decision is taken, adding that Denktash, leader of the Turkish Cypriot Democratic Party and son of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, did not give a specific timeframe for the transitional period before the resumption of the talks.|

Vassiliou, former President of the Republic, said Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have shown with their attitude that ''the separation is artificial''.

Therefore, ''the sooner negotiations resume and reach a conclusion, the better for all, especially for Turkish Cypriots who are in a much more difficult economic situation'', he added.

Vassiliou also said he has the impression that the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders view positively the measures which the government of Cyprus announced to support Turkish Cypriots.

Denktash told reporters his party believes that the UN, the EU and the US should remain observers at this moment. ''We are saying that they should not interfere'', he said.

''What we want to do is let people reach a stage where we can understand each other, solve problems and this will take us to a point to say that now it is time to start negotiating'', he said, adding that ''until then we want the outsiders to stay as observers and let Cypriots deal with minor issues with their own approach and attitudes''.

In his statements, General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus Party Izzet Izcan called on Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to ''immediately and urgently'' begin negotiations according to UN resolutions and under UN auspices ''because we are running out of time''.

A solution, he added, should be found by the end of the year on the basis of the Annan Plan. Izcan further said that if the measures announced are used ''cleverly, genuinely and honestly'' they could help ''back up the process of a solution to the Cyprus problem''.

On the measures the government of Cyprus announced last week, Izcan said ''it is clear that the measures are not the solution but any measures which would help the solution or help create any political climate or a better climate will have to be welcomed and supported''.

Izcan said the majority of the Turkish Cypriots ''want a solution, they are fed up of these problems, they want to live the European way, civilized, and have a better standard of living, they love their country and want to live in a united country as ordinary citizens of Cyprus and a proud citizens of Europe''.

Asked if the return of Famagusta was a good step, Izcan said ''it is a good step and if Famagusta is to be handed it has to be handed through the UN and not under Turkish Cypriot administration'' because it will ''boost the cooperation economically and politically and also the negotiating process towards a final solution''.

Invited to comment on the illegal ''arrest'' of Turkish Cypriot publisher, Sener Levent, Izcan condemned it, noting it is ''against humanity''.

''We demand the opening of more gates, we demand limits to be lifted on movement so the Cypriots in general should not suffer waiting hours and hours in the car and at the gates'', he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


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