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"The Guardian": Time for Turkey to comply with UN resolutions
2002-09-06 12:37:38

London, Sep 6 (CNA) - If Turkey is serious about joining the EU, now is the time finally for it to pay heed to the UN and to have firm words with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, British newspaper "The Guardian" notes in its edition today.

The article also refers to UN resolutions on Iraq and adds that "those who righteously deplore Iraq's flouting of UN resolutions should spare a thought for Cyprus".|

"The Guardian" refers to the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974 and to the numerous UN resolutions on Cyprus, demanding the "speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces from Cyprus and an urgent return of all refugees".

The article adds that "now for the first time there is a real and compelling deadline for progress" on the Cyprus issue.

Referring to today's meeting in Paris between UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the newspaper notes that nobody, including Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay and US diplomats, predicts a breakthrough.

The full text of the article is cited herebelow:

Resolutely ignored

Comply with the UN in Cyprus too
Leader
Friday September 6, 2002
The Guardian

Those who righteously deplore Iraq's flouting of UN resolutions should spare a thought for Cyprus on their way to the front lines. There have been more security council directives and statements since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island than George Bush has had crawfish hot dinners. The general assembly demanded unanimously on November 1 that year that there be a "speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces" from Cyprus and an "urgent return" of all refugees. The security council endorsed that demand and has since issued many of its own, notably in resolutions 367 (1975), 541 (1983) and 1251 (1999). This latter deplored the "excessive level of military forces and armaments" on both sides of the green line, reiterated the UN's vision of a single, bi-zonal, bi-communal, independent sovereign state, and set yet another overoptimistic deadline for the secretary general to achieve it.

During Britain's presidency last July, the council expressed disappointment at the lack of progress, singled out Rauf Denktash's Turkish Cypriots for blame, and once more urged both sides to help UN envoy Alvaro de Soto assemble at least "the component parts of a comprehensive settlement". Yet after all this effort and 28 years of legally binding declarations, 30,000 Turkish troops remain in northern Cyprus, the refugees remain separated from their homes, and Mr Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides remain glumly at odds. Today, UN secretary general Kofi Annan will meet the two men in Paris for another brave bash at mediation. Nobody, including Britain's special envoy David Hannay and US diplomats, predicts a breakthrough. Stiffed again, as Mr Bush might say.

Normally this would not matter much to the wider world. But there is now, perhaps for the first time, a real and compelling deadline for progress. Barring a massive upset, Cyprus will be formally invited to join the EU at its Copenhagen summit on December 12. If it is not, its patron Greece (which piquantly assumes the EU presidency in January) could halt the whole 10-nation enlargement in its tracks. Yet if it is, notwithstanding the lack of a settlement, Turkey, grappling with unpredictable autumn election outcomes, could in umbrage annex the north. Both should keep unusually cool. But if Turkey is itself serious about joining the EU, now is the time, finally, for it to pay heed to the UN and to have firm, even stiffish words with Mr Denktash.

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