Greek Cyprus Rejects Turkish Proposal for Five-Way Talks

Cypriot president Dimitris Christofias, right, and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat.

Cypriot president Dimitris Christofias, right, and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat.

ATHENS (Hurriyet)–Greek Cyprus has rejected a proposal by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a five-party conference, under United Nations supervision, to speed up a solution for the war-divided island.

“They want a new Burgenstock and of course new arbitration in order for pressures to be exerted on the Greek Cypriot side to accept solutions that are not new,” Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias said, according to a statement posted on the Cyprus Press Ministry Web site.

A quintet summit means the downgrading of the Greek Cyprus and the country will accept neither strict timeframes, nor arbitration, Christofias said, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Burgenstock was the Swiss town that was the site of U.N.-led discussions in 2004 that aimed to find a way to end the division of Cyprus.  

Reconciliation talks between the Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talaand his Greek Cypriot counterpart Christofias were launched last year by the United Nations. Talks under Alexander Downer, the former Australian foreign minister, who is the U.N. envoy to negotiations, have made significant progress in a number of areas.

However, momentum has slowed as a looming election due to be in held in the Turkish territory next April overshadows the meeting. Turkish voters are deeply disillusioned with the south’s unequal position. The Turkish Cypriot President since 2005 favors reunification and membership of the EU for the whole island but his rivals disagree with him.

A five-party summit on Cyprus would involve the east Mediterranean island’s Greek and Turkish-speaking sides as well as Turkey, Greece and the U.K., who are all guarantor powers of Cyprus under a 1960 accord that led to the country’s independence from British colonial rule.

The U.K. made an offer to the United Nations to make available just under 50 percent of the territory of its Sovereign Base Areas on the island to a unified Cyprus in the event of a solution, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Nov. 11 after a meeting in London with the Greek Cypriot President.

There are two British bases in the British sovereign territory on Cyprus. Akrotiri, which hosts the only RAF station on the Mediterranean, is located in Greek Cyprus, while Dhekelia is on the Turkish side. According to the terms of the offer, the Greek and Turkish leadership would decide the proportion of territory transferred out of British control by themselves.

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