Cypriot president says wants zero forces, guarantees from Turkey

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Reuters




(Adds detail, updates throughout)
    By Michele KambasATHENS, July 10 (Reuters) - President of Cyprus Nicos
Anastasiades said on Monday he remained ready to negotiate a
peace deal with estranged Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, after
U.N.-backed talks ended in acrimony last week.
    The talks, sponsored by Greece, Turkey and Britain as well
as the United Nations, failed to reach a deal to end a conflict
that has dragged on for decades and which is a source of
friction between Greece and Turkey.
    "What I want to make absolutely clear ... (is that) the
Greek Cypriot side is ready to negotiate a solution within the
parameters set by the United Nations Secretary General,"
Anastasiades told a news conference.
    He said he was still ready to negotiate a deal based on a
timetable for the full withdrawal of Turkish troops from the
north of the divided island and a commitment from Turkey that it
will cease intervening in Cypriot affairs.
    The latest of many attempts to broker an accord on Cyprus
ended on July 7 after 10 days of negotiations at a Swiss Alpine
resort attended by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides along
with Britain, Greece and Turkey.
    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called a halt after
what diplomats said was a particularly charged debate over a
dinner that stretched on through the night.
    Anastasiades said that, during negotiations, Guterres was
given the impression Turkey would be flexible on both the issue
of Turkish intervention and the presence of its armed forces in
Cyprus. But Turkey would not commit to those positions in
writing, Anastasiades said.
    Cyprus was split after a Turkish invasion that was triggered
by a brief Greek-inspired coup in 1974. The seeds of division
were sown years earlier after a power-sharing arrangement
between Greek and Turkish Cypriots crumbled as a constitutional
deadlock led to violence.
    A settlement to the long-simmering conflict has been given
sharper focus by the prospect of sizeable deposits of natural
gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
    Anastasiades, who runs an internationally-recognised Greek
Cypriot Government, said attempts to search for gas deposits
would go on despite opposition from Turkey, which disputes those
rights.
    "We are continuing our energy programme according to
schedule," he said.
    Following the talks' collapse, it was unclear what further
efforts the U.N. might undertake to resolve the conflict.
    While conceding failure, Anastasiades said islanders should
strive for independence even without help from third parties.
    "I want to tell Greek and Turkish Cypriots that we should
unite and look at the prospects of independence, of true
independence and integrity of the Republic of Cyprus as an EU
member state which ensures the rights of all," he said.

 (Editing by Catherine Evans)
 ((michele.kambas@thomsonreuters.com;))

Keywords: CYPRUS CONFLICT/ANASTASIADES (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV)








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