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Annan: One side is to blame for Cyprus deadlock
2003-03-13 16:32:32

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis -- United Nations, Mar 13 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has blamed Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for the breakdown of the Cyprus peace talks in The Hague, noting he did not seem to seize the urgency of the work that had to be done in order to meet the deadline.

Speaking at a joint press conference in The Hague Tuesday with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Annan explained that during a recent visit to Cyprus he asked the parties to meet in The Hague to answer one specific question: ''if they would be prepared to put my plan to a joint referenda in both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot parts by 30 March to be able to, and if they were to approve the referenda, for united a Cyprus to accede to the European Union on 16 April.''

However, he added, ''that was not possible'' because ''one party had indicated he would not put the plan to referendum and, of course, did not seem to seize the urgency of the work that had to be done for us to meet that deadline and so we did not get the results we wanted.''

Annan said that despite these developments ''the parties, the leaders, have agreed to go to the island and continue talking,'' adding that he wished them well. ''And, of course, if it gets to a stage where they think we can be helpful, we will always be prepared to help and they also know where to find us,'' the UN Secretary General said. |

In his statement, Balkenende described the Cyprus issue as a very important one in Europe that ''has to do with the relationship between Greece and Turkey and with the future of the European unity.''

The Dutch Prime Minister expressed admiration for the UN Secretary- General's efforts ''to find solutions for this complicated issue.''

''Until now there has not been a concrete result but it is very good that, in any case, the United Nations has taken its responsibility to bring the solution forward, and I think that the Secretary-General has played a very important role to bring parties together and we really hope that the parties will come to an agreement,'' Balkenende said.

It is not easy, he concluded, but ''I think that the Secretary General has taken his responsibility and we admire him for that.''

Answering questions Kofi Annan said that his Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will visit New York this weekend in order to prepare a report for the Cyprus deadlock in The Hague and brief the UN Security Council.


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