UN hosts talks on Cyprus solution talks
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Saturday 04 December 1999
The hope is that the "proximity talks", which Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, opened with Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, might lead them to agree to meet face-to-face on reuniting the island.
Mr Annan's modest objective, according to his special adviser on Cyprus, under- secretary general Alvaro de Soto, is "to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement". The talks could continue for a couple of weeks.
The island has been partitioned since the Turkish invasion in 1974.
Today the so-called Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), a statelet recognised only by Ankara and ruled by Rauf Denktash, is little more than a province of Turkey. The Republic of Cyprus itself is a Greek Cypriot state led by President Glavkos Clerides, and is a prime candidate for membership of the European Union in the current enlargement negotiations.
Mr Denktash insists no progress is possible until his statelet is recognised as titular equal to the Republic of Cyprus. Instead of the generally accepted goal of a "bi-zonal, bi-communal federation", he demands a much looser confederation.
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