The Voice of America Newsroom issued the following item on the meeting between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and UNSG Kofi Annan. The story was translated and broadcast in several of the 53 Voice of America languages, including Greek and Turkish.
CN-012 CYPRUS 01/29/04 21:36:26
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos calls for an immediate resumption of talks on the reunification of the divided island. .
MAIN STORY: CYPRUS
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has called for an immediate resumption of talks on the reunification of the divided island.
He made his comments in Brussels late Thursday after talks with U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Mr. Papadopoulos said a lot of time has been wasted waiting for developments on the Turkish Cypriot side.
He said the aim is a settlement on Cyprus before May first, when the island is scheduled to join the European Union. If there is no agreement by then, only the internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot south would enjoy the benefits of E-U membership.
Mr. Papadopoulos said he appealed to Secretary General Annan to immediately call for new talks. Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also asked Mr. Annan to revive the negotiations.
Earlier Thursday in Washington, U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell said a deal to resolve the division of Cyprus is close and he vowed to press all sides to reach a settlement.
Mr. Powell offered to personally take part in the effort, but stressed that the primary role in the talks should be left to Mr. Annan
Mr. Annan warned earlier this week that time for a Cyprus settlement is running out.
He said an agreement should be reached by the end of March to allow time for the Greek and Turkish communities on the island to hold referendums.
Cyprus has been split between a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since Turkey invaded the island in 1974 in response to a Greek-backed military coup in Nicosia.