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UN hopes developments will positively influence reunification
2003-04-29 12:55:13

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- United Nations, Apr 29 (CNA) -- The UN hopes developments in Cyprus will have a positive bearing in the ultimate goal of reunifying the island.

UN Secretary-General’s Spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said the UN has in small ways encouraged contact between the two communities over the years.|

Invited by CNA to comment on the easing of restrictions on the free movement of Cypriots by the Turkish occupation regime, Eckhard said "it has been part of the UN mission in Cyprus' mandate to encourage contacts with both sides. One of the worst results of the separation of the two communities was that a whole generation lost contact with each other".

Stressing the UN "have in small ways encouraged contact with the two communities through the years", Eckhard noted "we are encouraged by these crossings", adding the UN is "facilitating them, working with the authorities".

Eckhard said "we can only hope that these developments will have a positive bearing in the ultimate goal of the reunification of the island".

Asked if he shared the view that some people compared it with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Eckhard said he did not want to make comparisons beyond what he has already said.

On the status of the team, which the SG has created for the Cyprus negotiations, Eckhard said the UN has “nothing to announce on that. The team is still in place".

Eckhard reminded that Kofi Annan said recently in Athens that he continues to be prepared to play a role, but said he needs to see a change in the attitudes. "He has to be convinced of the real political will on both sides to move the process forward. If he sees signs of that political will on both sides he is happy to get involved again", Eckhard concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

CNA/AZ/EC/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY 29/04/2003

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