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Cyprus: Holbrooke Talks Make No Progress

Nicosia, 11 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke completed talks with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders today without achieving substantive progress on the dispute over the divided Mediterranean island.

Holbrooke said no breakthrough was made in his four-hour meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash -- but that he had not expected any from the informal talks. He said the fact they had met at all was in itself positive.

Holbrooke said the two sides had incompatible positions on two or three vital issues, as well as a profound legacy of distrust.

Holbrooke has now gone on to Ankara for talks with Turkish prime minister Mesmut Yilmaz. A visit to Athens is also planned.

Cyprus's ethnic Greek and Turkish communities have been living separately since 1974, when Turkey invaded its north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece.