BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 18:19 GMT
Mixed signals on Cyprus deal
Turkish PM Abdullah Gul, Greek PM Costas Simitis, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Greece's Costas Simitis flanked by Turkish counterparts
The United Nations special envoy, Alvaro de Soto, has said that a deal to reunify Cyprus can be reached over the next couple of days - but Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis has cast doubt on the idea.

Alvaro de Soto
Alvaro de Soto expects to work through the night
In the hours leading up to the start of the EU summit in Copenhagen on Thursday, frantic negotiations were taking place in the city.

The hope is that at the same time as the EU invites Cyprus and nine other mainly eastern European states to become members, the UN can end 28 years of division on the island.

The latest talks involve the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, Greece and Turkey, the UN and the EU - with the United States urging them on enthusiastically.

Greek scepticism

The BBC's Chris Morris in Copenhagen says diplomats have been trying to find a solution to the Cyprus conundrum for decades, and this is the best chance yet.

Rauf Denktash
Rauf Denktash is in hospital
Mr de Soto, said he expected to work through the night, negotiating with both Cypriot communities.

But Mr Simitis said he thought a deal was unlikely. He pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, was not in Copenhagen, and he doubted that anyone else would have the authority to sign an agreement.

Mr Denktash, who recently underwent heart surgery in the US was admitted to hospital in Ankara on Thursday, and is expected to remain there for a week.

His representative in Copenhagen is the foreign and defence minister of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Tahsin Erturoglu.

Turkey 'positive'

Mr Simitis also pointed out that if a deal was really close, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would have been present.

Greek Cypriot leader demonstrates in Athens
Greek Cypriots have protested against the UN plan in Athens
Mr Annan has said that he is ready to fly to Copenhagen, if needed.

Earlier a member of the Turkish Government delegation in Copenhagen, Egemen Bagci, told the BBC that Turkey took a positive view of the latest UN plan to resolve the dispute.

But in return for helping achieve agreement on Cyprus, Turkey has indicated it wants an improvement on the date of July 2005 it has so far been offered for the start of EU membership talks.

Turkish leaders will meet French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Friday to press their case for a date before 1 May 2004.


Key Stories

Background

Profiles

TALKING POINT
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes