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De Soto says no change in talks' procedure
2003-01-30 13:25:35

Nicosia, Jan 30 (CNA) ? UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, said the procedure of the on-going direct talks to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem based on the plan submitted by Kofi Annan remains the same.

Speaking after a meeting here Thursday with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, de Soto said the UN is waiting to see what the two leaders will come up during the talks, before deciding on a revised plan.

Asked if the procedure of the talks will change, de Soto replied, "no, the procedure remains that the leaders meet three times a week". He said the meetings will now be held in the mornings, rather than in the afternoon, and that he sees them frequently in between the meetings.

To a question if we are closer to a revised plan to the December 10 revised plan, which the Secretary-General submitted, de Soto said "that is another matter. We hope that they will agree to changes, if changes are needed".

Asked if he has a revised plan ready, de Soto replied, "we are waiting to see what they can come up with in these direct talks."

To a question if there is progress, de Soto said "that is a different matter, ask me that question about in a month."|

Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, together with De Soto, are engaged in intense negotiations to find a settlement within the timeframe of 28 February, as set by Annan, in an effort to give enough time for referenda to be prepared and Cyprus to sign the Accession Treaty with the European Union reunited on 16 April.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.


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