GeriGündem Turkish Cypriots demand active UN involvement in peace process
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Turkish Cypriots demand active UN involvement in peace process

Turkish Cypriots demand active UN involvement in peace process
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ISTANBUL - Turkish Cypriots presented their demands in the peace process to the U.S. Secretary of State and renewed their call for an easing of the isolation, the leader of Turkish Cyprus said Friday. (UPDATED)

Mehmet Ali Talat held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday in Washington. Clinton has called on the rival leaders to reach a solution soon and extended her support, her spokesman said Thursday.

 

Talat told reporters in Istanbul on his return from Washington that the visit was beneficial as it gave the Turkish side an opportunity to present their views and demands in the peace process. Turkish Cypriots presented three demands to the United States, he added.

 

"First, we asked the U.S. to encourage the international community, as well as the United Nations, to be more actively involved in the process. Secondly, we demanded the U.S. be more active and be involved in the process through various channels, as it was in the past. Thirdly, we asked them to contribute to efforts to lift the isolations on the Turkish community, both motivating the Greeks for peace, as well as maintaining the Turkish side’s pro-peace stance," he added.

 

Talat said the pledges made to lift the isolation imposed on the Turkish community were overshadowed by the peace process as all parties focused on the reunification efforts.

 

The Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly supported the U.N.-sponsored blueprint in the referendum held in 2004, when previous efforts collapsed after it was rejected by Greek Cypriots. The European Union has pledged to implement a free trade regulation to ease the isolations on the Turkish community on the island.

 

The Cypriot leaders relaunched reunification talks in September 2008, which have so far showed few signs of tangible progress, after a four-year hiatus. Cyprus was split in 1964 when Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw into enclaves.

 

U.S. intensifies diplomacy 

Clinton met earlier this month in Prague with Markos Kyprianou, foreign minister of Greek Cyprus, who will go to Washington next week for further talks.

 

"She expressed her support for the efforts of both sides to build on the momentum and achieve a solution as soon as possible, which will require courage on all sides," State Department spokesman Robert Wood was quoted as saying by AFP.

 

Clinton voiced her confidence that “they can meet this challenge,” he said, adding the U.S. secretary had a "positive, constructive meeting" with Talat, according to the report.

 

"She reaffirmed the support of the United States for a just and lasting settlement that reunifies Cyprus into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation," Wood said.

 

Talat's visit to Washington came just days before elections in northern Cyprus. His left-wing Turkish Republican Party has been down in opinion polls.

 

 

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