From the Guest Submitter:
New York, USA, February 12, 2004 - While leaders reached a decision to meet for the third time today for negotiations over Cyprus, Ankara signaled that even if Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC) President, Rauf Denktas, withdrew from the table, negotiations would continue toward a just solution.
Turkish delegation's attitude put the Greek side in a hard spot just before the second rendezvous in New York. Both parties are subject to intense international pressure.
Yesterday, very intense high-level diplomatic discussions took place took place within the Ankara-Athens-Washington-New York rectangle.
Taking on a facilitating role in the negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was personally in contact with Ankara and Athens.
Coming together at 23:00 Turkish time yesterday, the Turkish and Greek sides laid down alternatives to allowing United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan to fill in the gaps on irreconcilable differences. Annan wants to hold a referendum even if a consensus is not reached on basic issues that both parties objected to during the first meeting.
During the meeting, a rumor that the Turkish side was willing to accept Annan's offer to fill in the gaps, raised excitement at U.N. headquarters. However, at the end of the 75 minute meeting, no conclusion was reached and the parties decided to re-convene for a third time today.
While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and TRNC Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas speak with hope and determination for a just solution, the Greek Press described the two-day event in New York as a 'horror show."
In a surprise statement to Reuters news agency, Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission Chair, Mehmet Dulger, of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that Turkey will not give up on a just solution. Dulger said, "If Denktas leaves the table, negotiations will continue under the auspices of TRNC Prime Minister, Mehmet Ali Talat."
During a break after the first round of meetings, the U.N. requested that guarantor states apply pressure to both sides. While U.N. and European Union (EU) representatives and U.S. and British officials continue to press both parties, hectic consultation traffic occurred between Ankara and Athens.
Annan's Special Envoy to Cyprus, Alvaro De Soto, contacted the guarantor state of Greece and met with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Ugur Ziyal. The U.S. administration held active meetings with Turkey and Greece in particular. In a late-afternoon call to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Powell briefed Gul on the negotiations. Powell requested Turkey's support and willingness to compromise in the meetings, which he thought started at a 'good' pace. Powell also contacted Greek Foreign Minister Georges Papandreou.
Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, Eric Edelman, and British Ambassador to Ankara, Peter Westmacott, met with the Foreign Ministry as well yesterday. Erdogan held a meeting with Cabinet Council members during the day to evaluate the developments.
On the other side, U.S. Special Envoy to Cyprus, Thomas Weston, met with Denktas and the Greek-Cypriot Leader, Tasos Papadopoulos. Also meeting with Ziyal, Weston described the first three-party meeting as 'positive' and spoke hopefully about the second round.
Speaking to Zaman, TRNC diplomatic sources expressed hope for a decision to start negotiations, but anticipated that the negotiation process will be tough. The same sources stated that the global powers want a solution and revealed that "Turkey will carry on shaping its future without any problem. And the Powers wish this. However, they do not have any need for the solution to be to Turkey's benefit. They just apply pressure for a solution."
http://www.hukuki.net / New York / USA