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Annan expected to announce date for talks soon
2004-02-04 12:46:05

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis

United Nations, Feb 4 (CNA) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced here Wednesday that he will announce in the next day or so the date for the resumption of the UN led talks for a Cyprus settlement.

Annan also said he has not yet heard from Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash but that he intends to get in touch with him.

In statements Annan referred to his series of consultations while he was in Europe "with the Prime Minister of Turkey and with the President of the Greek Cypriot Republic. I also spoke to the Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. And they have all indicated their willingness to resume talks and maintain the effort until we come to conclusion. We don't have much time. If we are going to meet the 1st of May deadline we should move fairly quickly. I intend to invite the parties very shortly and I think in the next day or so a date will be set".

Asked if had heard from Denktash, he said he has not heard directly from him yet, but only from the Turkish Prime Minister, noting that he intends to "get in touch with him".

Earlier, a UN official said about last night that negotiations for a Cyprus settlement will take place on the basis of the UN Secretary-General's plan and under the conditions set out in paragraph 148 of his report issued last year.

The meeting took place with the participation of US State Department Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, Head of the Mediterranean Desk at the British Foreign Office, Dominick Chilcott, UN Special Advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto and his assistant Robert Dunn, and other members of his team.

The UN official said they exchanged notes like they do many times, noting that the UN Secretary-General will decide shortly and will send the invitations for the resumption of the talks.

The official said it is clear that the talks will be conducted on the basis of Annan's plan and according to the preconditions set out in paragraph 148 of his report issued last year.

Reports said the negotiation process will start before 15 February.

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