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UN announces postponement of talks between Greek, Turkish Cypriot communities

(Xinhua)

14:04, August 05, 2011

The United Nations on Thursday announced the postponement of a planned meeting between leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities in the face of a mounting political crisis in the country.

A statement by the UN establishment in Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, said the postponement was requested by the Greek Cypriot side without elaboration.

Cyprus's public television said the cancellation of a meeting on Friday between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu was probably due to recent government reshuffle in the wake of a blast at a naval base.

The junior coalition party, the Democratic Party (DIKO), had pulled out of the government in disagreement with the handling of the Cyprus issue by Christofias.

The party fiecely opposed Christofias' proposals to the Turkish Cypriot community for a rotating presidency.

Christofias asked for the resignation of the ministers last Thursday following widespread public outcry in the aftermath of a massive blast at a naval base on July 11 that killed 13 people and wrecked the island's main power station.

Thousands of people had been rallying outside the Presidential Palace since the naval base blast, accusing Christofias of failing to get rid of a cargo involving 98 containers packed with Iranian explosives and munitions that were confiscated from a Russian-owned ship en route to Syria, under a UN embargo resolution.

They said that the explosives were left unattended under scorching sun and in humid conditions for almost 30 months.

The United Nations have been presiding for many years over negotiations on the eastern Mediterranean island which was divided in 1974 after Turkey occupied the northern part of the country in reaction to a coup by Greek army officers.

The postponed session was part of a round of intensified talks pressed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ahead of meeting the two community leaders in New York in October.

The UN statement said the session will be rescheduled after a two-week summer recess.

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