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UN says hard to see opportunity to compare with current one
2003-01-20 14:28:51

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- United Nations, Jan 20 (CNA) - Spokesman for the UN Secretary General, Fred Eckhard, said here Monday if no agreement was reached on Cyprus by the end of February, according to a timeframe which UN chief Kofi Annan had set in a revised plan for a Cyprus settlement, it would be hard to see what new opportunity would be comparable.

Invited to comment on a statement made by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that the UN plan is a crime against humanity, Eckhard said if Denktash has said that, ''I would have to disagree with him''.|

He added that Annan is just trying ''to offer his good offices, so that the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots can resolve their differences, unify the island in time to enter in the European Union as a unified state''.

''He is trying to help them. I don't think that is a crime against humanity'', Eckhard said.

Invited to comment on a remark by President of the Cypriot House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, who described as ''propaganda'' Eckhard's statement that it will be a tragedy if there is no solution, the Spokesman said ''if you look at comments that Alvaro de Soto made to the press over the weekend, you will see the same sentiments are caught by him''.

He said if an agreement was not reached by the end of February, ''it is hard to see what new opportunity might present itself that will be comparable''.

The UN-led direct talks between the two sides have resumed as part of the effort by the UN to reach a negotiated settlement to the Cyprus problem by the end of February, based on Annan's revised plan submitted on December 10 last year.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

CNA/AZ/EC/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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