Denktash Rejects New UN Proposals on Cyprus

GLION–Switzerland (Reuter)–Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on Wednesday rejected new UN proposals aimed at fostering compromise in Cypriot inter-communal peace talks but will stay at the negotiating table–a senior Turkish official said.

Inal Batu–deputy undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry who is in this Swiss village representing the Ankara government–told Reuters Denktash had refused to discuss or sign the new document tabled on Tuesday at his meeting with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and UN special Cyprus negotiator Diego Cordovez.

“But the negotiations will continue,” Batu said.

Cordovez–chairing the five-day session–had earlier presented Denktash and Clerides with an amended version of proposals he had tabled at July’s inconclusive first round of Cyprus talks in New York.

The Turkish official said Cordovez had insisted on putting forward the proposals despite Denktash’s objection to the tabling of new documen’s at the five-day talks–held in a hotel in the village of Glion near Montreux and due to end on Saturday.

“The United Nations has submitted a document knowing that the Turkish Cypriot delegation did not come here to negotiate a document. Denktash rejected the document. He has also refused to sign any document,” Batu said.

“But Denktash has said he is ready to continue the negotiations,” Batu said. He said Denktash had reiterated his position at the two-and a-half-hour meeting.

Cordovez was due to listen to Clerides at a second meeting scheduled for 1330 GMT.

Batu said Cordovez was pressing the two sides to sign a joint declaration at the talks–aimed at ending the 23-year partition of Cyprus under a bi-zonal–bi-communal federation.

He added: “There will be no joint declaration. If they want to sign a one-sided declaration on their own–they can do it. But there was no need to come to Montreux for that.”

Denktash–head of the breakaway northern Turkish Cypriot state recognized only by Ankara–is on record as threatening to pull out of the negotiations if the European Union goes ahead with a plan to start entry talks for Cyprus early next year.

The Greek Cypriot side says the EU plans have nothing to do with the negotiations to reunite the island–divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a coup in Nicosia engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece.

Cordovez faces the difficult job of overcoming an impasse in the talks over the key issues of sovereignty–resettlement of refugees–security and guarantor states that have for decades deadlocked efforts to reunite the Mediterranean island under a bi-zonal–bi-communal federation.

His mediating tactic appears to be conducting working papers that combine different options based on observations from talks with the two sides to draw out a compromise–while at the same time trying to keep Denktash and Clerides talking to each other.

He detailed his latest proposals in a draft document on the procedure of the talks including a timetable and an annex about a proposed constitution and also referring to key sticking issues such as sovereignty–officials close to the talks said.

These included a new paragraph saying both parties should refrain from any action that might damage the procedure.

Diplomats close to the talks said Greek Cypriots had sought a clarification on what this means–and whether it might refer to the contentious issue of European Union entry plans.

Among the set of suggestions presented were:

There will be one federalist state with single and indivisible sovereignty–a change from the previous paper that called for a sovereignty derived from the two communities;

The federal republic will respect human rights;

Each community will have its own territorial administration;

A provision that Denktash and Clerides may meet in Cyprus on humanitarian issues.

Diplomats said the papers omitted a paragraph in the previous document that Cyprus would enjoy a “most favored country” status in trade with both Turkey and Greece.

The new documen’s repeated a timetable under which the two sides would prepare their positions by the end of the year and start real negotiations in March 1998–following presidential elections in the Greek Cypriot south set for February.

Cordovez has called for a step-by-step approach in the negotiations but has not said how this fits in with the EU timetable–which gives him a five-month window.

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