- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 14, 2002

NICOSIA, Cyprus Despite a slim chance of success, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrives in Cyprus today to salvage the deadlocked talks between the island's Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.

Whatever happens, U.N. sources said, Mr. Annan will not concede failure but will merely urge a continuing effort to unite this strategic eastern Mediterranean island before its formal admission to the European Union, expected at the latest by 2004.

Mr. Annan, commented the English language daily Cyprus Mail, "is in a no-win situation as there appears to be no real desire for a negotiated settlement on either side."

Earlier, Dimitris Christofias, speaker of the Greek Cypriot parliament, described the talks between Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, as not a dialogue but "two monologues."

Turkey has threatened to annex the northern 37 percent of the Cypriot territory if the internationally recognized Greek portion of the island is admitted by the EU before a solution to the feud. It began with the 1963 communal clashes, which produced the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Turkey is the only backer of the TRNC, set up in northern Cyprus after Turkish troops stormed ashore in response to a coup intended to unite Cyprus with Greece.

Mr. Denktash, president of the TRNC, said that the EU's admission of the Greek-speaking part of Cyprus without a formal solution would be "a disaster." He did not explain why.

The Greek Cypriots want a federal solution under one government, with a minority status for Turkish Cypriots. That is something Mr. Denktash and Turkey have been steadfastly rejecting.

According to Turkey's Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem, societies have been encouraged "to split along ethnic lines.

"To deviate from this overall trend in Cyprus is hard, There are two different nations, cultures, religions and languages and a heritage of mistrust and bloody feuds."

In Mr. Denktash's opinion, "There is not, and there has never been, a Cypriot nation, just Turks and Greeks living in Cyprus." His motto for years has been: "We shall never be dominated by the Greeks again."


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