- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 18, 2002

'Turkey's best interests'

A leading Cypriot politician is urging U.S. officials to apply more pressure on Turkey to reach a reunification settlement on the issue of the divided Mediterranean island.

Demetris Christofias, president of the Cypriot House of Representatives, met this week with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, deputy national security adviser.

They agreed to tell Turkey that "it is time for a solution to the Cyprus problem, for Cyprus' reunification and its accession to the European Union," Mr. Christofias said.

"Of course, Americans consider Turkey as a very friendly country to them, that plays a strategic role in the region, and I think that we have to convince them that a settlement of the Cyprus problem providing for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and Cyprus' accession to the EU do not contradict Turkey's best interests," he said.

Turkey sent troops into Cyprus in 1974 to protect the minority Turkish Cypriot community there. The internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot government of Cyprus, however, blames Turkey for the continued division of the island. Turkey still has more than 30,000 troops supporting the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Ankara.

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been holding talks, but remain divided over a future government for a reunified Cyprus.

OAS special meeting

The foreign ministers of the 34 members of the Organization of American States are expected to meet in Washington today to hear a report from a special delegation sent to Venezuela earlier this week.

Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria, who led the delegation, is to present his findings on the military coup last week that overthrew President Hugo Chavez, who was restored to power within 48 hours.

Colombia's election

Colombia's recent elections produced a legislature that will likely have little impact on the country's civil war against Marxist guerrillas, according to the International Crisis Group.

"Few candidates campaigned on national issues such as the peace process or comprehensive political reform," said John Biehl del Rio, the group's Colombia project director.

"It is, therefore, likely that the next government's stance on peace or war will depend on the presidential election."

However, the election of a large number of independent candidates to the House of Representatives and the Senate in the March 10 election is good news for Alvaro Uribe, a dissident Liberal candidate in the May 26 presidential race.

"His emphasis on the need for the state to assert its authority, as well as for social and political reform, has proved to be popular," the crisis group's report said. "Those candidates who aligned themselves with his views benefited most and would give him a loyal following in the legislature."

The elections were held in a tense atmosphere nearly two weeks after the government abandoned its policy of appeasement and began attacking Marxist rebels, who tried to disrupt the election.

"One candidate was assassinated, an election official was abducted and seven candidates kidnapped prior to the election have still not been released," the report said.

However, the deployment of 154,000 police officers and soldiers across the country helped maintain order. The turnout, at 42.3 percent, was normal.

"The state worked hard to ensure the security of the election process, but there is room for improvement on transparency and integrity if the presidential vote is to enjoy full public and international confidence," the report said.

Foreign Policy in Greek

Foreign Policy magazine has started a Greek edition, its sixth foreign publication.

"One of our most important goals is building a worldwide community of readers and expanding debate on global politics, economics and ideas," editor-publisher Moises Naim said.

The Washington-based magazine, with 70,000 foreign subscribers, is also published in Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Turkey and Venezuela.

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