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Annan believes peace plan last chance for united Cyprus in EU
2003-03-10 09:31:09

by Maria Myles -- The Hague, Mar 10 (CNA) - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan believes that his peace plan for a comprehensive settlement represents ''the best and last opportunity for Cyprus to sign the EU Accession Treaty reunited,'' a statement by Annan's spokesman said here today.

The statement, issued late Sunday night after Annan had met with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, also said that the Secretary General will ask the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus whether they are prepared to sign on Monday a two-page commitment to submit the UN peace plan to a referendum.

In the statement, Annan expressed hope that the leaders will agree to allow the people to decide on their future in a united Cyprus.

''The Secretary General has arrived in The Hague for meetings tomorrow (Monday) regarding Cyprus. He has invited the Greek Cypriot leader Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash to The Hague to receive a reply to his request of 28 February 2003 that they should enter a binding commitment to putting the plan for a comprehensive settlement, as revised on 26 February, to separate simultaneous referenda on 30 March,'' the statement said.

It notes that the Secretary General has asked both leaders ''to ensure that they come to The Hague having completed all necessary consultations and procedures to be able to give definitive answers there and then.''

The statement says that the Secretary General has also invited representatives of the guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and Britain) to The Hague and has asked them to indicate their readiness to sign on the same day a statement confirming their agreement to put the peace plan to separate referenda and to sign a treaty on matters related to the new state of affairs in Cyprus, should the peace plan be approved at the referenda.

''The Secretary General's plan represents the best and last opportunity for Cyprus to sign the EU Accession Treaty reunited. The Secretary General hopes that the leaders will agree to put the plan to referendum and allow their people to decide on their future in a united Cyprus,'' the statement concludes.

This morning, Annan is scheduled to have a meeting with Papadopoulos and later on he will see Denktash, at the Peace Palace.

Later in the afternoon the Secretary General intends to give a press conference.

Earlier this morning, the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus question, is due to hold another meeting. The Council, comprising parliamentary parties, has already met on Sunday evening.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


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