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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-09-22

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

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Wednesday, September 22, 1999


Job Centre



/ 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 be productive.

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

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