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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-05

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, May 5, 1998

Holbrooke fails to kick-start talks

THE FAILURE of President Clinton's envoy, Richard Holbrooke, to get an agreement on the resumption of the intercommunal talks was the lead story as all papers blamed Rauf Denktash's stance for the mediation failure.

Phileleftheros reported that Holbrooke's mediation had ended in failure for the second time in a month. The main obstacle to a resumption of talks was Denktash's demand for a change in their basis, from intercommunal to inter-state.

According to the paper, he had also demanded the suspension of EU accession talks and a lifting of the trade embargo on the occupied area. Interest would now focus on two issues - the next steps of US diplomacy and on whether Holbrooke would blame Denktash for the latest failure.

Simerini said that Holbrooke had noted the positions of the two sides during his contacts, because there had been talks as regrads the status, with which the north could participate in EU accession talks.

As this was integrally bound with the issue of recognition and sovereignty, the question was whether any commitments had been made on these matters. Any such positions could be interpreted as commitments and referred to by the US in any new attempt to break the deadlock, the paper said.

Haravghi, under the headline "Complete failure", said that Holbrooke had failed to "break Denktash's intransigence, despite four long meetings during the weekend.

The paper said that Holbrooke had rejected a document containing the three conditions set by Denktash for a resumption of talks (see above). Holbrooke had only agreed to the lifting of the trade embargo while Denktash sought acceptance of all his conditions.

Agon said that "the magician" of American diplomacy did not possess the "magic formula" this time, and was leaving Cyprus having achieved nothing.

Alithia, quoting a report in an Athens paper, said that Holbrooke had a four-point plan which included the acceptance of Denktash as leader of the Turkish Cypriot community; putting on hold the delivery of the S-300 missiles.

His other objective was to secure a resumption of talks, based on a specific agenda, in the US in July.

Tharros, quoting diplomatic sources in Athens, went a step further. It said Denktash and President Clerides would meet in Maryland in July because this was the wish of President Clinton who had sent them both personal messages.

Despite his disappointment, Hobrooke was sure he would get the two leaders to meet at an isolated venue in Maryland in July for "uninterrupted talks".

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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