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Annan considering trip to region end of February
2003-02-12 13:33:58

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis United Nations, Feb 12 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is considering a trip to Greece, Turkey and possibly Cyprus during the last week of February, which is the period in which an agreement on Cyprus must be reached if the opportunity that now exists is to be seized.

The UN chief's Spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said today that Annan strongly hopes that the negotiations underway for a Cyprus settlement will be successful and is prepared to continue playing a personal role to this end, adding that Greece and Turkey have been approached on this possible visit.

Asked about Annan's trip to Ankara and Athens, and possibly Nicosia, Eckhard said ''these announcements maybe a bit premature but I can say the Secretary General is indeed considering a trip to the region during the last week of February, which is the period in which an agreement on Cyprus must be reached if the opportunity that now exists is to be seized''.

''Annan strongly hopes that the negotiations underway will be successful and he is prepared to continue playing a personal role to this end. Greece and Turkey have been approached on this possible visit'', Eckhard added.|

The Spokesman noted that ''the precise itinerary of his (Annan's) travel will reflect the judgment made closer to the time regarding the possibility of his playing a personal role in bringing efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement to a decisive conclusion''.

He added that the UN chief's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro De Soto is in New York and will be meeting the Secretary General later today, to brief him on the latest developments.

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

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