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Chances of Cyprus peace talks restart look dimmer as Turkish Cypriot leader sees no common ground

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Chances of Cyprus peace talks restart look dimmer as Turkish Cypriot leader sees no common ground

Chances of restarting formal talks to mend Cyprus’ decades-long ethnic division appeared dimmer Wednesday as the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots told a U.N. envoy that he saw no common ground with Greek Cypriots for a return to negotiations.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said that he conveyed to the U.N. secretary general’s personal envoy, María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, that talks can’t happen unless separate Turkish Cypriot sovereignty in the island’s northern third first gains the same international recognition as the Cyprus republic in the Greek Cypriot south.

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Tatar was quoted by Turkish Cypriot media as saying that a permanent Turkish military presence coupled with military intervention rights are prerequisites to any peace deal, despite Greek Cypriot attempts to “remove Turkey” from the settlement equation.

Tatar also expressed irritation with Holguín’s contacts with civil society groups that support an accord that would reunify Cyprus as a federation made up of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot zones, in line with a U.N.-endorsed framework.

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A man walks across the U.N buffer zone in front of a blocked road as a banner shows the Cyprus island divided, the Turkish occupied area at the north and Cyprus republic at the south, in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Chances of restarting formal talks to mend Cyprus’ decades-long ethnic division appeared dimmer as the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots told a United Nations envoy that he saw no common ground with Greek Cypriots for a return to negotiations.  (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

The majority of Greek Cypriots reject a deal that would formalize a partition through a two-state deal, the permanent stationing of Turkish troops on the island, the right for Turkey to militarily intervene as well a demand for a Turkish Cypriot veto on all federal-level government decisions.

The Turkish Cypriot leader’s remarks don’t waver from a line that he’s consistently kept since his 2022 rise to power. But the fact that he remains unyielding despite four months of Holguín’s shuttle diplomacy doesn’t bode well for a talks restart.

Holguín was appointed at the start of the year to determine what the chances are of resuming formal talks seven years after the last major push for a deal collapsed amid much acrimony.

An agreement has defied numerous, U.N.-facilitated rounds of talks since 1974 when the island was cleaved along ethnic lines following a Turkish invasion preceded by a coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence, and although Cyprus is a European Union member, only the south enjoys full membership benefits.

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Holguín has refrained from speaking at length about her contacts over the last few months, but she noted in an interview with Kathimerini newspaper that it was up to the leaders to “listen to the people” and that she had been surprised at Tatar’s rejection of her proposal for a three-way meeting with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides.

Holguín will “soon” prepare a report for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres about her findings over the last five months, according to U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.

Christodoulides struck a more upbeat note on Wednesday, saying that efforts for a resumption of talks continue and that time should be given for diplomacy to work.

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Ukraine's Zelenskyy is expected in Normandy for commemorations of 80 years since D-Day, Macron says

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Ukraine's Zelenskyy is expected in Normandy for commemorations of 80 years since D-Day, Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday he will greet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy along with other world leaders in Normandy for the 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day.

President Joe Biden is also scheduled to attend this year’s commemorations of the landings that led to the liberation of France and Europe from Nazi Germany’s occupation.

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Dozens of World War II veterans are expected to return, many perhaps for the last time, to Normandy’s beaches.

French President Emmanuel Macron shows a map during a press conference at the German government guest house in Meseberg, north of Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

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An international ceremony at Omaha Beach will honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations that landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Macron said during a visit to Meseberg, Germany, on Tuesday that he will elaborate on Paris’ support for Ukraine next week, when Zelenskyy visits for the D-Day events.

France will “do whatever is necessary for as long as it is necessary” to support Ukraine, he said.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also to attend the D-Day commemorations.

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Britain’s King Charles III, who continues to be treated for cancer, also plans to travel to France for the British ceremonies, while skipping the international ceremony. The Prince of Wales will instead stand in for the king at Omaha Beach.

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Former spy chief expected to be new prime minister of the Netherlands

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Former spy chief expected to be new prime minister of the Netherlands

It has taken months of post-election negotiations to form a right-wing government.

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A former spy chief was tipped as the new Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

Former head of the Dutch spy agency and counter-terrorism office Dick Schoof was tipped on Tuesday to become the nation’s new Prime Minister.

The 67-year-old will lead a coalition dominated by Geert Wilders’ radical right-wing Freedom Party.

The coalition is also made up of the centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, centrist New Social Contract and the Farmer-Citizen Movement.

Schoof is currently the top civil servant at the Ministry of Security and Justice.

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Wilders congratulated him in a post on X, saying he “has a great track record, is non-partisan and therefore above the parites, has integrity and is also very likeable.”

Anti-Islam firebrand Wilders, who topped the polls in last year’s elections, struck a deal with the other party leaders earlier this month – capping months of negotiations that left it unclear who would become the new Dutch prime minister.

The new agreement, framed with the slogan “Hope, courage and pride”, includes plans to impose strict measures on asylum seekers, scrap family reunification for refugees and reduce the number of international students studying in the country.

At one point, the 26-page document says the government will seek to “deport people without a valid residence permit as much as possible, even forcibly”.

Wilders’s preferred candidate for prime minister withdrew last week following allegations he had been involved in medical patent fraud.

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South Africa's ANC support around 42% days before election, poll finds

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South Africa's ANC support around 42% days before election, poll finds
Support for South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has settled around 42% in the days leading up to Wednesday’s election, an opinion poll showed, suggesting that an increase in support seen earlier this month has fizzled out.
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