Straw meets Iacovou amid protests
Nicosia, Jan 25 (CNA) - British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met here today with his Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou as protestors demonstrated outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs against Straw's planned talks in the Turkish occupied areas of the island.
Iacovou and Straw had a private meeting before entering into talks in the framework of the Britain – Cyprus structured dialogue aiming to improve bilateral ties. Discussions lasted more than an hour.
Shouting slogans such as ''Jack Straw go home,'' and ''Shame on you Jack'' around 120 Greek Cypriot demonstrators greeted Straw's motorcade as he arrived for the meeting with Iacovou.
Green Party MP George Perdikes, participating in the demonstration, said Straw’s visit was suspicious as it coincided with a Turkish action plan for a Cyprus settlement, announced Tuesday by Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
Member of the European Party Nicos Koutsou described the visit as unacceptable, adding that Straw's approach is not only partial but also supportive of the Turkish Cypriot occupation regime.
One of the protestors threw an umbrella at the convoy, some others threw eggs that fell on the ground and one demonstrator was slightly injured in the crush as he was knocked against a car in Straw's convoy as he was leaving the meeting.
The Cyprus government objected to Straw's plans to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at the so-called presidential palace. Nicosia had conveyed its concerns to London over the meeting but Straw said it would go ahead as planned. Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said he would not meet Straw.
Only Ankara recognizes the occupation regime declared unilaterally in 1983, nine years after Turkish troops occupied the island's northern third.
Straw is due to hold talks in Ankara on Thursday and will then go on to Athens.