Associated Press, November 24, 2002
Turkish foreign minister says U.N. plan for Cyprus is negotiable
ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's new foreign minister, while citing some flaws has described as negotiable a U.N. plan to reunite the war-divided island of Cyprus, the Anatolia news agency reported Sunday. <
Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis was speaking to Turkish and Greek journalists late Saturday in New York, where he held talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. The Turkish Cypriot leader is recovering from heart surgery at a New York hospital.
The Cypriot government, headed by President Glafcos Clerides, has already accepted U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites )'s plan as a basis for negotiations, but Denktash has said it was full of "traps" and needed more time to examine the 137-page plan.
"We believe that the plan can be negotiated upon," Anatolia quoted Yakis as saying after a meeting with Denktash.
He was quoted as saying however that the plan had several problems, including a proposed demarcation line that needs to be "readjusted" and water resources that need to be "distributed more fairly."
Annan is seeking agreement between the two sides before the Dec. 12 European Union (news - web sites) summit which is expected to approve the entry of the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot state into the EU.
Cyprus has been divided into Greek and Turkish Cypriot parts since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island following a short-lived coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes Denktash's breakaway Turkish Cypriot state.
Under the plan, Cyprus would be a single country with two equal states and a loose federal government with a rotating presidency.