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UN announces Annan to visit Cyprus
2003-02-13 18:17:12

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- United Nations, Feb 13 (CNA) – The UN announced here Thursday Secretary-General Kofi Annan intends to visit Cyprus at the end of February.

UN Spokesman, Fred Eckhard in a statement told reporters that Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, telephoned President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and informed them about Annan's intention to visit Cyprus at the end of February, after his visits to Ankara and Athens.

He said the SG's trip to the region would be with the view to bringing the search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem to a decisive conclusion, by the 28th of February, as foreseen in his revised proposal at the end of December.

Eckhard also said the UN Secretary-General will visit Ankara on 24 February and Athens on 25 February.

According to CNA sources Annan will be in Cyprus from 26-28 February.|

Eckhard said the Secretary-General "is planning visits to Ankara, Turkey and Athens, Greece, starting on Monday the 24th. In that connection the Secretary General has concluded consultations on Cyprus with his special advisor Alvaro De Soto.

Mr De Soto today telephoned His Excellency Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader and His Excellency, Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, to inform them on the Secretary-General's intention to visit Cyprus at the end of February, following visits to Ankara and Athens.

The Secretary-General's trip to the region will be with the view to bringing the search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem to a decisive conclusion, by the 28th of February, as foreseen in his revised proposal at the end of December. Details of the Secretary General's itinerary will be announced shortly", he added.

Eckhard said De Soto is returning to Cyprus today and he will hold the next scheduled meeting of the two leaders tomorrow afternoon at 5 pm., at the UN protected area in Nicosia.

Asked why he did not announce the days Annan would be visiting Cyprus, Eckhard said "we said that we give details when we are ready. In another day or perhaps beginning of next week".

Asked if the phone calls were made before, or after the meeting of the Secretary-General with British Envoy, Lord David Hannay and US Special Coordinator on Cyprus, Thomas Weston, Eckhard said he would have to check that with de Soto's office, noting "I assumed it was after, but I can't say it is any connection between those two events".

To a question what is at this point the main obstacle for the parties to agree on the revised plan, before the end of the month, Eckhard replied he did "not want to go into the details of this process", noting it is a "very complex operation".

"We are operating under very tight time constraints", adding that the Secretary General is "weigh in personally to try to wrap it up by the 28th".

Eckhard further said that Kofi Annan was invited by Prime Minister Costas Simitis to attend the European Summit in Brussels.

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

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