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Turkish leader wants UN plan as basis of Cyprus talks 24 mars 2008

Posted by Acturca in South East Europe / Europe du Sud-Est, Turkey / Turquie.
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Agence France-Presse (AFP)

18 mars 2008, Bruxelles

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has written to European and UN leaders saying a 2004 plan for Cyprus, offering high autonomy to both sides of the divided island, should be the basis for new reunification talks.

The letter dated March 7, a copy of which was seen by AFP Tuesday, speaks of « a renewed sense of optimism » on Cyprus, ahead of landmark talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders in Nicosia on Friday.

« It is our considered view that the new round of full-fledged negotiations should resume as soon as possible, from where we left off in the spring of 2004, » on the basis of the plan named after former UN chief Kofi Annan, Erdogan wrote.

The Annan plan involves « mainly bi-zonality, political equality between the two sides and an equal status of the two constituent states which will bring about a new partnership state, » the letter continues.

Copies of the message seeking support were sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and all 27 EU member states except Cyprus, which Turkey does not recognise, a diplomatic source said.

The reunification plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots but accepted by Turkish Cypriots in 2004 referendums held on both sides of the island.

The issue of Cyprus — divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north following an Athens-engineered coup to unite the island with Greece — has bedeviled Greek-Turkish relations for decades.

Only Ankara recognises the northern Cyprus statelet, a fact which is hampering Turkey’s bid for EU membership.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has also said the 2004 UN plan should serve as the basis for new talks.

However Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias has rejected the idea.

Erdogan called on EU and UN leaders to take « concrete steps towards lifting « the unjust isolations » imposed on the majority Turkish north of Cyprus so as to « contribute to finding a comprehensive solution ».

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