The Cyprus Government Hopes Turkish Cypriot Leader will Review his Position and
Accept UN S-G's Invitation for Talks

September 6,2001

The Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash, in another outburst of intransigence, has turned down yesterday an invitation by the UN Secretary General to resume the search for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem on September 12 in New York. The Turkish Government immediately publicly backed his decision. According to Anatolia news agency, Mr. Denktash has announced that he has rejected the invitation extended by the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, on the grounds that "a common ground has yet to be established."

UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto announced yesterday during a press conference held in Nicosia that on behalf of the Secretary General he had conveyed invitations to Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for separate meetings with the UN S-G on September 12, in New York, “to resume the search for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, under the Secretary General’s auspices.” The announcement was made at the end of Alvaro de Soto’s eight-day visit to Cyprus for contacts with the parties with the purpose of resuming the UN-led talks interrupted last November by Mr. Denktash.

Cyprus President Mr. Glafcos Clerides has accepted the invitation by Mr. Kofi Annan and as it was announced by Cyprus Government Spokesman Mr. Michalis Papapetrou, he will travel to New York and be at the Secretary-General’s disposal as from next Wednesday morning, in accordance with the invitation.

Mr. Papapetrou expressed the hope the Mr. Denktash will review his position, accept the Secretary-General’s invitation and proceed to the peace talks, with a view to move towards breaking the current stalemate and finding a settlement based on the UN resolutions. “I hope that Mr. Denktash will respond positively to the invitation and the two leaders will be in New York with a genuine will for substantive negotiations” he added.

Along the same lines the EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen who had met Mr. Denktash on 27 August, in a written statement today expressed his disappointment that Mr. Denktash has not accepted the UN Secretary General’s invitation to talks on 12 September and added that the Commission considers that the window of opportunity for reaching a solution before accession remains open and encourages all interested parties to undertake all efforts with this aim in view.

* * * * *