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UN Chief appoints de Soto to Western Sahara
2003-08-07 15:27:57

Nicosia, Aug 7 (CNA) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is ready to exercise his good offices to help reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem when both parties and both motherlands show a genuine commitment to come to terms, his spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said today in New York, announcing the Annan's intention to appoint his Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto as his Special Representative for Western Sahara.

The Spokesman said Annan would make arrangements as appropriate regarding the handling of the Cyprus good offices when de Soto takes on his new duties.|

In response to a question during his daily briefing, the Spokesman repeated Kofi Annan's statement last week that ''he is ready to exercise his good offices to help the parties achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem when both parties and both motherlands show a genuine commitment to come to terms''.

Eckhard said ''this was spelled out in the Secretary-General's report to the Security Council in April following the failure to reach agreement at The Hague''.

''As he has amply demonstrated, the Secretary-General attributes a high priority to the settlement of the Cyprus problem, and believes that it is possible to achieve this if the political will is there'', Eckhard said.

''He therefore awaits a firm commitment by all concerned to finalise negotiations with UN assistance on the basis of the plan he put forward to the parties on 26 February, and to submit it shortly thereafter to separate simultaneous referenda'', Eckhard added.

He noted ''the Secretary-General will make arrangements as appropriate regarding the handling of the Cyprus good offices when Mr. de Soto takes on his new duties''.

Alvaro de Soto has been Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus since 1999.

The Peruvian diplomat has worked on the island heading a team of legal experts for more than a year. He produced what has been described as the most comprehensive peace proposal on a political settlement covering all aspects of the problem, which he presented to the two sides.

Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash rejected the proposal at talks at The Hague in March, while Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said it was a basis for negotiation.

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

CNA/EC/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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