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    Straw: Turkish initiative should be taken seriously

    Hürriyet Haber
    26.01.2006 - 10:01 | Son Güncelleme:

    British Foreign Minister Jack Straw was met with protests as he arrived in Nicosia to hold meetings on the "Cyprus Issue". Placards read "Shame on you Straw". Although accused of favoring the Turkish-Cypriots, Straw said he had come to support both communities on the island.

    Turkey has in recent days stated that it would like to find a solution for the divided island and restart the reunification process, however, with Greek-Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulous refusing to meet the British Foreign Minister it seems that talks may still be a way off. Papadopoulous refused to meet with Mr Straw in protest of a meeting between Straw and the Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Due to the presidential sub, Straw met with the Cyprus Foreign Minister, George Iacovou. A spokesman for the Cyprus High Commission in London said, "Papadopoulous would not meet with Mr Straw, as he was meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in his so called presidential palace."

    The spokesman added that as Turkish Cyprus is not recognised internationally Straw should not meet with Mr Talat in such settings.

    Straw said that the Turkish initiative should be taken seriously and commented on what was holding back the process: "The main obstacle is lack of dialogue between the two communities. The only route is negotiation and compromise. There can be no imposed solution."

    In a show of reconciliation Ankara has in recent days made a proposal to the UN which would allow Greek Cypriot ships into Turkish ports, for the first time after 31 years. Officials highlight that the proposal, which contains reciprocal concessions, is not one-sided.

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