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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-06

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, May 6, 1998

Holbrooke under fire from all sides

ALL the papers yesterday prominently reported the explanations given by US envoy Richard Holbrooke for the failure to secure the resumption of intercommunal talks.

Most stressed that some of Holbrooke's comments had infuriated President Clerides.

Simerini, under the headline "Clerides's fury", said Holbrooke had absolved Turkey of any responsibility for the Cyprus problem, had refused to blame Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash openly for the current impasse and, by claiming that Clerides had admitted he did not represent "the people of northern Cyprus", had opened new windows for the recognition of the pseudo-state.

Clerides was prompted to issue a written statement, claiming that Holbrooke had misinterpreted his positions. Clerides denied accepting that he did not represent the entire Cyprus Republic. The president also complained that Holbrooke had not blamed the Turkish side for the impasse, as he had previously said he would do.

Phileleftheros, quoting sources close to Clerides, said that during the president's last meeting with Holbrooke the American envoy had promised to blame Denktash for the impasse. Holbrooke had agreed that there was a need for him to use tough language if the Turkish side was to soften its stance.

The source cited an interview given by Holbrooke to the Washington Post on Sunday, in which he was much clearer about the Turkish side's responsibility for the deadlock.

The leader articles all criticised Holbrooke for his refusal to condemn openly the Turkish side's stance.

Haravghi said Holbrooke's statements proved beyond doubt that the "US had no intention to put pressure on the aggressor, the Turkish side, which is provocative, intransigent and is methodically promoting its expansionist policies".

"Putting all our hopes in the US basket, and the illusions cultivated by Clerides and his supporters about the role of the Americans, have proved harmful for the struggle of our people", the paper said.

Machi, in a fire-and-brimstone article accused the government of constantly pandering to the US, turning "us into lackeys of the Americans".

"We must prepare for war now, if we want peace", the paper added. Alithia, in a much more restrained editorial, took exception to Holbrooke's call for "more give and take". The Cyprus government was asking for nothing other than implementation of UN resolutions. Denktash had no right to demand recognition of his pseudo-state, which was the result of invasion and occupation.

"There can be no give and take between legality and illegality", the paper said. If the US wants to prevent a crisis in the region, it "needs to confront Turkish intransigence more resolutely".

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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