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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 09:35 GMT
Turkish Cypriot leader pushes for meeting

The Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, has proposed a face-to-face meeting with the Greek Cypriot president, Glafkos Clerides.

Mr Denktash said it was high time for direct contact.

The proposal marks a significant change in Mr Denktash's position.

So far the Turkish Cypriot leader had refused to meet Mr Clerides until his breakaway Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognised.

Only Turkey, which helped establish the state when it invaded the island in 1974, recognises Northern Cyprus.

Cyprus is a candidate for European Union membership, and Mr Denktash fears the Greek south could join the EU before the island is reunified.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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