UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is ready to send letters to all concerned parties on Cyprus, asking them to clarify if they accept his terms and accept his invitation to resume talks. Regardless his reluctance, Kofi Annan was convinced after the talks he had with Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and the guarantees from US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who considers Erdoyan both sincere and capable of convincing the Turkish Cypriot leadership. Turkey has offered to allow the United Nations to “fill in the blanks” on unresolved issues in the plan at the final stages of negotiations, provided the Greek Cypriots do the same.
Encouraged by the Turkish offer, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that a deal could be close. The Cypriot government asked Washington for assurances that Turkey did accepted the plan. Ambassador of Cyprus Euripides Evriaviades reportedly had meetings with both Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powel as well as Under Secretary Mark Grossman. It seems like President Bush had sent a letter offering explanations to President Papadopoulos.
Turkish television station NTV reported on Friday that negotiations may resume on Feb. 9.
The United States hopes that negotiations on the reunification of the two states in Cyprus will resume in Geneva as early as Feb.9, said the NTV. Following US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s phone call, UNSecretary General Kofi Annan is expected to decide on inviting all related parties in the Cyprus dispute to initiate a further round of negotiations, according to the report.
Annan is to send a conditional invitation next week to all related sides in the Cyprus issue, the NTV said, adding he would request that both sides in Cyprus to make commitment to hold referendum on the proposals put forward by Annan even if they do not reach full accord during the talks.
The Radikal newspaper in Turkey on Friday quoted U.S. officials as saying that President George W. Bush would suggest that negotiations resume on Feb. 9 in Geneva. Greek Cypriot officials had speculated that talks could start around Feb. 15, giving mediators less than three months to wrap up a conflict that has defied resolution for more than three decades.
Turkey is waiting for a call from the UN chief about the possible time of resumption of the Cyprus talks, which broke down last March, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer was quoted assaying. Diplomatic sources in Washington have said that Turkey was readyt o give its guarantee if Greece and Greek Cyprus accept the UN initiative.
Secretary General Kofi Annan said Friday that further consultations were needed before the United Nations decided on a new round of Cyprus peace talks. Annan appeared to be holding out for the sides to meet his conditions for re-engagement in the peace effort, at a standstill after talks broke down in early 2003.
“I need to hear from two more sides and then I will be in a better position to determine when, and whether we resume the talks and if the conditions are met,” Annan said.
The UN chief has held high-level talks with Turkey and the Greek Cypriots, but said he still needed to consult both Greece and the Turkish Cypriot leadership.
Pressure is growing for rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots to accept a power-sharing blueprint that would usher a united Cyprus into the European Union on May 1.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis gave his reassurance to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that Greece will contribute to the efforts for the resolving of the Cyprus issue in every possible way, during a telephone conversation they had after Mr. Simitis’ initiative, according to information.
According to the same information, the Simitis-Annan telephone call took place after a communication between Mr. Simitis and Cypriot President, Mr Papadopoulos, who met with Mr. Annan in Brussels on Thursday. Mr. Papadopoulos had reassured Mr. Annan that the Greek Cypriot side is ready at any time to move to negotiations for the resolving of the Cyprus issue, based on his plan.
The conclusions the Greek side came to from the Simitis-Annan and the Simitis-Papadopoulos discussions were that the Secretary General is still reserved since he does not believe all conditions required to call the parties to negotiations have been met.
Mr. Annan is expected to have a telephone communication with Foreign Minister and PASOK candidate President Giorgos Papandreou on Monday.
The United Nations says it will call talks only if it gets assurances from the sides involved that they will use the blueprint as a basis for negotiations. It also wants the sides to agree, from the outset, that any result will be put to a public referendum in a bid to ensure the talks have a cut-off date.