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    Turkey says Greek Cypriots act slowly in reunification process

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    09.10.2008 - 15:27 | Son Güncelleme:

    The Greek Cypriot side is not acting swiftly contrary to the hopes and expectations in the reunification talks launched by Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders last month, a Turkish diplomat said Thursday.

    "We welcomed full-fledged talks that started on September 3. We hope the new process would bring a fair and permanent solution to the Cyprus question on the basis of U.N. parameters," Burak Ozugergin, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, told a press briefing on Thursday.

    Divided by arguments over territory, property, governance and power-sharing, Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias will continue discussions on the latter two issues this Friday.
    Cyprus has been divided since 1964 when Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw into enclaves.
    The launch of negotiations marked the first major push for peace since the failure of a U.N. reunification plan in 2004, which was approved by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek Cypriots.

    "However, we see that Greek Cypriot side does not act swiftly in this process which is contrary to expectations and hopes. We sadly observe that they have made false allegations against the Turkish Cypriot side," Ozugergin said.

    He said such allegations were against U.N. parameters and solution plan, adding Turkey supported the constructive and pioneering stance followed by Talat.

    A group of international statesmen known as "The Elders" including Nobel peace laureates ex-U.S. president Jimmy Carter and anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu met Thursday both Cypriot leaders to back U.N.-brokered efforts to reunite the Mediterranean island.

    Carter, 84, and Tutu, 77, are accompanied by Lakhdar Brahimi, 74, the Algerian former foreign minister who helped broker a 1989 agreement that ended Lebanon's 15-year civil war.

    Success is "very likely" in the new round of talks on the unification of Cyprus, Carter said at a news conference after the trio of Elders met the Cypriot leaders.

    "I don’t think we are going to have failure. This is not more difficult than the Middle East peace process," he said.

    "Both sides are on the verge of seeing an agreement, with very good communication between the two leaders. It’s very likely we will have success here," he added.

    "If they don’t grab this opportunity their children and grandchildren will ask: Why didn’t you?" he said.

    "We told the leaders it is a moment in history and we hope it’s a moment they will catch and that history will judge them graciously," Tutu said.

    Tutu likened the situation on Cyprus to the overthrowing of South Africa’s apartheid regime when the unlikely partnership of Nelson Mandela and Willem de Klerk came together at the right time.

    "On their own they wouldn’t have accomplished what was accomplished, together. They were able to take an epoch making step and the world was relieved that South Africa was not plunged into a racial bloodbath."

    “We cannot stress enough how you have moments in history when everything is working for you. There were miracles in South Africa because history was favorable," said Brahimi who led the UN mission in South Africa during the early 1990s. “A moment like that is on hand for Cyprus."

    The three are members of the Elders: 12 world-respected elder statesmen with hands on experience in conflict resolution.

    The group was formed last year by Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former president, on his 89th birthday and Graca Machel of Mozambique.

    Talat also met earlier on Thursday U.N. Secretary-General's special envoy for Cyprus Alexander Downer.





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