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Direct talks enter substance, says Spokesman
2003-01-28 14:58:11

Nicosia, Jan 28 (CNA) ? UN led direct talks have entered the substance of the Cyprus problem as unprecedented and intense efforts to solve the problem are underway, according to Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou.

He told reporters here Tuesday during his daily press briefing that in the past couple of sessions, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has been "discussing and expressing his views on the substance" of a UN plan Secretary-General Kofi Annan had submitted to the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides for a comprehensive settlement.

However, at this moment, the Greek Cypriot side cannot say whether it is satisfied with Denktash's positions, "many of which are outside the framework of the Annan plan", the Spokesman said.|

Papapetrou said that unprecedented and pressing moves towards a settlement in the very near future are actually taking place.

He said this morning's meeting between UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser Alvaro de Soto and President Glafcos Clerides, "concentrated on efforts to solve the problem in a very short time".

Asked if developments in the recent days lead to a revision of the existing UN peace proposal, Papapetrou referred journalists to de Soto's statement on his return to Cyprus earlier this month, that any changes to the Annan plan should not alter the overall balance.

President Clerides and Denktash are engaged in direct negotiations on a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement. The UN have said they want to see a negotiated agreement by the end of February to enable a reunited Cyprus to join the EU and sign the Accession Treaty in mid April.

CNA/KN/EC/MM/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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