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US Blames Turkish-Cypriot Leader for Failure of  Cyprus Reunification Talks - 2003-03-11

The United States Tuesday lamented the breakdown of United Nations-led efforts at the Hague to resolve the Cyprus dispute, with the State Department putting blame on Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

A Cyprus settlement has long been a major U.S. policy goal and the State Department expressed "deep disappointment" that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was unable to get the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to agree to hold parallel referendums on his unification plan.

While Mr. Annan did not apportion blame for the breakdown, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher singled out Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for his hold-out against a vote on the U.N. plan.

"We find it very regrettable that Mr. Denktash has denied Turkish Cypriots the opportunity to determine their own future and to vote on such a fundamental issue," he said.

The U.N. plan envisaged a federation of two Cypriot states loosely linked by a central government. Spokesman Boucher saluted the "commitment and creativity" of Mr. Annan and his special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto and said that despite the setback, the United States remains committed to a just and durable settlement of the Cyprus problem.