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UN envoy calls on two sides to think seriously
2002-02-18 17:08:25

Nicosia, Feb 18 (CNA) - UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has called on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to think seriously about what they have discussed so far in the past few weeks, in the context of the direct talks, and try and address each other's legitimate concerns and fears.

In a statement to CNA, the UN top envoy on Cyprus, who has been conducting the face-to-face talks on the island since January 16, expressed hope that the two sides will resume their search for a comprehensive settlement with a sense of urgency and a renewed spirit of understanding and compromise.|

"It is my hope that in the month of March, following the opportunity for reflection afforded by the break on the occasion of the Bayram, the two sides will seriously ponder over what they have heard from the other side and see what they can do to address legitimate concerns and fears," he said on the eve of the last meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, before a ten day break for the Moslem feast of Bayram from February 20 to March 1.

The Peruvian diplomat expressed the hope that the two sides "will return with a renewed spirit of understanding and compromise as well as with a sense of urgency."

Clerides and Denktash started direct talks, under UN auspices, in mid- January amid increasing expectations that this round of negotiations could lead to a just and lasting settlement. Very little has emerged about the actual content of their discussions because of a news blackout but it appears they have dealt with all four core issues of the Cyprus question in detail and in depth (constitution, security, territory, refugees).

De Soto, assisted by a team of experts in his effort to bring about a negotiated settlement, leaves Wednesday for New York to brief UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Thursday and the Security Council next Tuesday.

With the resumption of the talks, Clerides and Denktash will be meeting on Tuesdays in the afternoon and on Fridays in the morning, unless otherwise agreed between the two.

CNA/MM/RG/2002

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