Ex-Turkish-Cypriot leader Denktash dies

Jan. 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM

NICOSIA, Cyprus, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Rauf Denktash, a longtime leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, has died in Nicosia, Cyprus, United Nations officials said Saturday. He was 87.

A U.N. representative for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Denktash, who died Friday, a "long-serving and historic" Turkish Cypriot leader in the efforts to reunify the island of Cyprus.

Ban, his special adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, and Lisa Buttenheim, special representative for Cyprus, expressed their condolences to Denktash's family and all Turkish Cypriots, the release said.

Downer and Buttenheim described the former leader as "a pre-eminent figure" who fought for the interests of the Turkish Cypriot community for decades.

They also reaffirmed the United Nations' commitment to reaching a comprehensive solution for the issues dividing Cyprus.

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders are to meet in New York this month for talks aimed at reunifying the island.

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