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Greek Foreign Minister to discuss Cyprus at UN
2003-02-05 12:10:49

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis -- United Nations, Feb 5 (CNA) -- The Cyprus question will be part of discussions Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou will have in New York with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Papandreou, whose country is the current president of the European Union, is in New York to attend today's hearing of the Security Council as an observer, during which Powell will present convincing evidence on links between Baghdad and Al Qaeda.

A senior Greek foreign ministry source has said that Papandreou will inform the Secretary General that on three separate occasions Athens raised with Ankara the question of security, in connection with an agreement the two countries should reach on the number of troops each will maintain in Cyprus after a political settlement is achieved.|

''There is not even the slightest possibility that such an agreement could be reached by the end of February,'' a target date set by the UN for a comprehensive settlement, the same source said.

A UN peace plan on Cyprus calls on Turkey and Greece, two of the three guarantor powers of Cyprus' territorial integrity and independece (the other is Britain), to agree on the strength of their respective military contingents, once a settlement is reached.

Turkey has said it was not ready for this kind of agreement, noting that it needs more time for consultations with the military.

Papandreou, who went to New York after a tour of Arab countries in a bid to resolve the Iraqi dispute through diplomatic means, will also discuss the situation in Iraq with his interlocutors, including his counterparts from EU member states who sit at the Security Council and the chief UN inspectors on Iraq.

The Greek minister is expected to stress the need for a common EU policy, in the context of the decision taken on 27 January.


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