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Peace talks focus on territory
2003-02-03 09:42:01

Nicosia, Feb 3 (CNA) -- The thorny issue of territory was the focus of discussions between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Dentkash at their meeting today, in the context of the UN-led peace negotiations.

According to reliable sources, this was the first time the two sides started negotiations on territory.

''Discussions on territory began today, this is unprecedented, and talks on this issue will continue on Wednesday in greater depth,'' the same sources said.

The Greek Cypriot side outlined its views about the changes it wishes to bring about to an existing map which the UN had put forward, as part of a UN peace plan submitted to the two sides in early December.|

The plan provides for the return of territory, now under Turkish occupation, to the Greek Cypriots that will be part of the Greek Cypriot administered component state.

The plan stipulates that 28,5 per cent of the territory of Cyprus should come under Turkish Cypriot administration in the context of a solution and the rest will be under Greek Cypriot administration. Currently 37 per cent of Cyprus' territory is under Turkish occupation and has been since 1974, when Turkey invaded.

Denktash has raised serious concerns about this arrangement, saying that thousands of people, many of whom are illegal settlers from Turkey, will have to be resettled. So far Denktash has refused to discuss the issue of territory, claiming that he wants to sort out the so-called sovereingty of the self-styled regime in occupied Cypruus before talks on territory take place.

The UN has set 28 February as a target date for a negotiated agreement on a comprehensive settlement.

Present at today's meeting were the advisers of the two leaders and UN Secretary General's special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.

CNA MM/GP/2003

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