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Saturday, March 28, 1998 Published at 13:57 GMT

World: Europe

Annan fails to break Cyprus deadlock
image: [ Annan and Denktash before their 'full and frank' exchange of views in Geneva ]
Annan and Denktash before their 'full and frank' exchange of views in Geneva

Talks in Geneva between the UN Secretary Kofi Annan and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, aimed at breaking the deadlock over the divided island's future, have ended without agreement.

The Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, says the European Union has wrecked any chance of a fair, negotiated settlement on the partitioned island by inviting the Greek Cypriot government to talks on membership next week. The Turkish Cypriots want the issue of membership of the E.U. delayed until after the two Cypriot communities have reached agreement on the future of their divided island.

Mr Denktash also repeated a demand that his Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not internationally recognised, be given equal status in the talks.

However, Kofi Annan said he was pleased to have had the opportunity to talk to Mr Denktash and added that there had been a full and frank exchange of views.

A BBC correspondent at the talks says it is hard to see how things can progress from here.

The new United Nations special representative to Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, who has just returned from his first fact-finding trip to the island, says the talks on ending partition are completely stuck and that there is a total lack of confidence between the two sides.

The Turkish-Cypriot stance has led to differences within the EU on the question of membership for Cyprus.

They are threatening to affect enlargement talks with other applicant countries; France has said it may freeze the entire expansion process if the EU does not recognize at least some of the Turkish objections.

Turkish and Greek Cypriots have been separated since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern third of the island.

Talks aimed at forming a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation have continued sporadically for decades, with no sign of an end in the impasse in sight.

The last round collapsed in Montreux in August with Greek and Turkish Cypriots wrangling in public.


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