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Alvaro de Soto: Annan gives leaders time to reflect
2004-02-11 12:25:47

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis

United Nations, Feb 11 (CNA) - The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto described the first meeting of Kofi Annan with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as constructive, noting Annan had given the two leaders a break to reflect on the discussions and return on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday's meeting, de Soto said he is barred from revealing anything procedural or substantial on the talks.

De Soto said the talks would resume at 16:00 today, noting that Kofi Annan had ''separate meetings with the leadership on both sides and subsequently had a direct meeting''.

He said ''it was a constructive discussion'', noting that ''the Secretary General has asked them to stay on, to take the morning off for reflection''.

''We hope that after a night and morning of reflection, we will come close'', he added.

De Soto said the UN has asked the parties ''not to speak about the discussions that have been going on'' therefore he himself would ''prefer not to characterise them at all''.

To a question why there will be more talks tomorrow, de Soto replied, ''Because we haven't quite finished''.

Invited to say whether it means that there is breakdown in the talks, de Soto replied, ''None at all. It means just that we need more time''.

The UN diplomat said he did not want to make a prediction about the talks, adding that he is ''barred from saying anything about what transpired at the meeting, procedural or substantive''.

Asked if the talks have begun, de Soto replied, ''Well, they have met, haven't they?''

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