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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-314644 U-N Cyprus Talks (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=03/31/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=U-N/CYPRUS TALKS(L-O)

NUMBER=2-314644

BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN

DATELINE=GENEVA

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Just hours before their deadline, Greek and Turkish Cypriot negotiators are still deadlocked over a reunification plan presented by U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports.

TEXT: U-N mediators are using all their skills to try to prod the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to compromise on their positions and accept a plan, which aims to reunite their divided communities. But, prospects of their signing on to the deal presented by U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan appear dim.

Mr. Annan has given the two parties a choice. Either they accept his plan for the reunification of Cyprus by the end of the day or they must come up with an agreement of their own.

If they fail, Mr. Annan says he will present his final plan to the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus, who will vote on it in separate referendums April 20th. If either side votes against the agreement, then only the Greek Cypriot side of the island will join the European Union on May 1.

International pressure on the parties to make concessions is intense. Secretary of State Colin Powell is urging the leaders to show flexibility. A U-N spokesman, Stefan Dujarric, says the Turkish and Greek Prime Ministers, as well as the European Union's Enlargement Commissioner are participating in the negotiations.

/// DUJARRIC ACT ///

They are there to assist the U-N in bringing about a text which will then go to referenda. So, their input is very important on many different levels.

/// END ACT ///

The current set of proposals is the fourth presented by Mr. Annan in 16 months. It calls for a loose confederation of the northern Turkish and southern Greek parts of the island. It reduces the number of Greek Cypriots allowed to return to the homes they fled in the north when Turkey invaded the island in 1974. It also asks the Greek Cypriots to accept a permanent presence of Turkish troops on the island.

The Annan plan also calls for the Turkish Cypriot side to agree to substantial cuts in the number of Turkish troops and to return some of its territory to Greek Cypriot control. It provides for the return of thousands of Greek Cypriot refugees to the Turkish Cypriot zone.

The Greek Cypriots reportedly are unhappy with the concessions made to the Turkish Cypriots. A spokesman for the Greek government says as things stand now, the chances for an agreement are slim. (SIGNED)

NEB/LS/MAR/RAE/RH



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