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UN Blames Turkish Cypriot Leader for Failure of Reunification Plan - 2003-04-14


The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution holding Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash responsible for the failure of a U.N. plan to re-unify the Greek and Turkish-controlled parts of the island.

The resolution, adopted by unanimous vote, says it was "due to the negative approach of the Turkish Cypriot leader" that no agreement was reached on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan.

Mr. Annan met last month with both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders in hopes of getting their approval for the plan, so that a United Cyprus could sign a treaty Wednesday on joining the European Union. The island has been divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and took control of a third of it, after a coup in Nicosia that was backed by Greece.

The current president of the Security Council, Mexican Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, says that the council continues to support Secretary General Annan's reunification plan.

"The Security Council adopted this resolution with the hope that there will be now flexibility on both [sides], and that negotiations can resume soon, and that an agreement can be reached," he said. "But this is as much as can be done given the circumstances."

Mr. Annan's plan included some land transfers. But talks broke down last month with Turkish officials calling the U.N. proposal, which reduced the territory under Turkish control, "unbalanced and unjust."

Cyprus is expected to join the European Union next year. But without an agreement, EU benefits will only apply to the internationally recognized, Greek-led part of the island.

EU diplomats say failure to reach a settlement could also jeopardize Turkey's ambitions to join the European Union, because, they say, Turkey could find itself in the position of applying for EU membership, while having troops stationed on the territory of a member nation it does not recognize.

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