US Once Again Blames Turkish Side for Cyprus Deadlock

WASHINGTON (Cyprus News Agency)–The US has said it holds the Turkish side primarily responsible for the deadlock in efforts to settle the protracted Cyprus problem.

In a written statement issued Wednesday in response to an inquiry–State Department spokesman James Rubin notes that: "As ambassador Holbrooke said–the Turkish side bears primary responsibility for the lack of progress in talks."

US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke held three-day consultations with the two sides in Cyprus beginning of this month–in a bid to get them back to the negotiating table.

His efforts were inconclusive because Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash insisted he would not negotiate unless talks were held on a "state-to-state" basis and Cyprus withdrew its application to join the European Union.

The illegal regime in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 is recognized only by Turkey. UN resolutions call on all states not to recognize or facilitate in any way the secessionist entity–unilaterally declared in 1983.

Until today the peace talks have been held by President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash in their capacity as leaders of their respective communities.

Denktash is reacting strongly to Cyprus’ European Union accession mainly in reaction to a Union decision not to include Turkey in the countries considered eligible for membership.

The EU has said Ankara should prove it backs efforts for a settlement in Cyprus–is ready to resolve the Kurdish problem and will iron out its relations with Greece.

Turkish Cypriot deman’s for recognition of the illegal entity in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus are "ridiculous and unacceptable," New Jersey Democrat Congressman–Frank Pallone–told the US House of Representatives.

Pallone also called for a change in US diplomacy and policy in regards to the Cyprus problem–pointing out that efforts should focus on Ankara rather than the Turkish Cypriots.

Pointing out that recent efforts by Holbrooke to "breath life into the moribund Cypriot peace talks," Pallone says they were "scuttled by the Turks before it had even the slightest chance of producing a breakthrough."

Stressing that any settlement in Cyprus should be consistent with UN resolutions–Pallone pointed out that none of them "even hint at bestowing an iota of legitimacy on the self-declared Turkish republic.

"I think that these developmen’s–coupled with the Administration’s knowledge that Ankara is calling the shots for the Turkish Cypriots–necessitate a swift change in US diplomacy and policy," Pallone said.

Pallone said the US should in "forceful and unequivocal terms convey to Ankara that there will be direct consequences in US-Turkey relations if Ankara does not prevail upon the Turkish Cypriots to retract the two new conditions and allow Cyprus peace talks to move forward."


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