The President of Cyprus, Spyros Kyprianou, has condemned proposals by the Turkish Cypriot minority on the island to declare unilateral independence as "totally irresponsible".
SV Cypriot President Spyros Kyprianou speaking (SOT)
KYPRIANOU: "The resolution itself could be the starting point for a renewed effort towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. There are many few elements in the resolution. There is a clear call for the withdrawal of the occupation troops from Cyprus, while on the other hand it considers the withdrawal of the occupation troops as an essential basis for a solution to the Cyprus problem. It contains a lot of elements which condemn all the efforts on the Turkish side to change the demographic character in the occupied areas. On the whole it justifies completely the position of the people of Cyprus and the rights of the people of Cyprus. I am quite well aware of the fact that Turkey, as usual, reacted unfavourably to the resolution of the United Nations. In fact they went to the point as to indicate that some developments might take place. Obviously this is a kind of threat in case we stick on the resolution of the United Nations. Instead of threatening, instead of being so negative, Turkey should listen to the view and the verdict of the international community."
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Background: The President of Cyprus, Spyros Kyprianou, has condemned proposals by the Turkish Cypriot minority on the island to declare unilateral independence as "totally irresponsible". Mr. Kyprianou, speaking on May 18, said his government might seek a meeting of the UN Security Council if such a move went ahead. The Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was quoted in the London Times on May 17 as saying that he would shortly propose independence for Northern Cyprus. The island has been divided since Turkish troops occupied the north in 1974, following a Greek-backed coup. The latest Turkish proposal follows the success of a UN resolution on May 13 which called for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus as a condition for a settlement, and for meaningful negotiations between the two communities. Turkey condemned the UN resolution as "unbalanced and biased", but Turkish Foreign Minister Ilter Turkmen said on May 17 the Turkish Cypriots would only resort to unilateral independence if and when inter-communal talks, scheduled to re-open on May 31, failed. Mr Kyprianou, who is visiting Athens before starting a European tour to brief governments on the issue, expressed his satisfaction with the UN resolution on May 16: