/ Conflicting reports on talks invite
THE DIPLOMATIC efforts to get Cyprus talks restarted dominated yesterday's
front pages although there were conflicting reports.
Alithia, in a report from New York, said that
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was hesitating to send invitations to
direct talks to President Clerides and Rauf Denktash, despite the
insistence of Britain and the US. Annan has sought assurances from the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council, particularly Britain and the
US, that the invitations would be accepted and that the ensuing talks would
According to diplomatic sources, Britain and the US both believe that
Denktash would accept the invitation, but the Americans are waiting for the
visit to Washington of Turkey's Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit so as to
establish whether the Turkish side is prepared to show some flexibility.
_ took a slightly different line, saying that Annan was expected to send
out invitations to talks at the end of September. These would be sent out
after the meeting between President Clinton and Ecevit on September 28.
Annan had changed stance after receiving assurances from the US and Britain
that not only would they support his initiative but would also ensure that
Denktash stayed at the negotiating table. Once the invitations were sent,
Britain and the US would undertake diplomatic efforts to convince Turkey
that substantive talks should take place.
_ claimed that there was a flurry of behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity
in New York which "touches the substance of the Cyprus problem". The US and
Britain, who are "the protagonists and movers of the game", have focused
their attention on contacts with all interested parties, with the aim of
lifting all obstacles to the talks.
In New York, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is to meet her Turkish
counterpart Ismail Cem today, while on Thursday she will have separate
meetings with Greece's and Cyprus' foreign ministers. Britain's envoy Sir
David Hannay, had met Clerides on Monday and was also due to meet the three
foreign ministers this week.
Simerini, in a front page editorial, demands
that the truth be told to the people about the type of settlement that
would be discussed in New York. It said: "Under the unfavourable conditions
created, the least public opinion could expect from the political
leadership is not to conceal or distort things. From one point of view we
are regressing towards a new round of demagoguery and false euphoria."
It scoffs at the Greek side's declaration that it is ready to talk without
setting conditions, "as if this is some big conquest", and warns that "we
should be prepared, if and when the invitations are sent, about what we
will find on the (negotiating) table". It predicts that "the first thing to
confront us will be Denktash's demand for confederation". It concludes
thus: "We are heading for a bitter compromise. Let the truth be told to the
people and let us not delude ourselves."
_ also sounded a note of warning in its front page editorial. It said:
"What is being heard about sovereignty cannot but cause concern. Our side
has the responsibility of safeguarding the Cyprus Republic, the Cypriot
state, and to fight for a settlement based on UN resolutions and the High
Level agreements. Otherwise, the road will be opened for the permanent
partition of Cyprus."
_ continued with its "revelations" about the alleged plots of Islamic
terrorists who plan to make France the first Muslim state in the heart of
Europe. It said there were six million Muslims of Arab descent in France
and another six million Muslims living there illegally. Then there were
"black Muslims from Africa" who numbered one million.
"If we take into account the Frenchmen who have embraced Islam, then the
number of Muslims living in France is 60 million, then it would be very
easy to set up Europe's first Islamic state," it concluded.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999