Unity Talks on Cyprus Founder

From Associated Press

Months of intense talks to reunify war-divided Cyprus have ended in failure, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced today.

"We have reached the end of the road," he said after negotiating through the night in The Hague with the leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities of the Mediterranean island and their supporters.

Annan had used Cyprus' impending entry into the European Union to pressure new Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and his counterpart from the Turkish part of the island, Rauf R. Denktash, to agree on a federation plan that would unite the two sides for the first time since 1974.

The talks apparently stumbled over the Turkish Cypriots' insistence that their breakaway state win full recognition, and demands by the Greeks for the right of all Greek refugees to return to homes in northern Cyprus they left 29 years ago.

Annan had asked Papadopoulos and Denktash to each hold a referendum this month on his plan. If the peace plan had been accepted, a reunited Cyprus would have been accepted as an EU member on April 16.

With the plan's failure, the Greek Cypriot government alone will sign the EU accession treaty and join the bloc in May 2004. EU laws and provisions will not apply to the Turkish side, which is not internationally recognized.

In addition, the inability to resolve the dispute may reflect badly on Turkey, which is seen as having influence with the Turkish Cypriots, and negatively affect Ankara's own campaign for EU membership.

The plan envisaged reunifying Cyprus as a single nation comprised of Greek and Turkish Cypriot states linked through a weak central government.

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