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Kasoulides calls on Annan to assess the behaviour of two sides
2002-03-20 09:31:17

Larnaca, Mar 20 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has urged the UN Secretary General to take seriously into consideration the behaviour of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides at the negotiating table, before he takes his next step.

He said Annan's statement on the direct talks, that started here mid January, was an encouragement to both sides to make some headway in the negotiations in the remaining two or three meetings before the UN chief is briefed in early April by his Special Adviser Alvaro de Soto, who conducts the talks.

"We hope that the UN Secretary General, in any future intervention, will take seriously into consideration the attitude of each side at the talks and will not act in the way he did in September 2000, bribing the side that causes difficulties at the expense of the side that does its job," Kasoulides said on his way to Sofia, to participate in a conference on European Union enlargement, organized by the British Foreign Office.

In September 2000, Annan issued a statement which caused the Greek Cypriot side to seek clarifications that it meant neither derecognition of the Republic of Cyprus nor recognition of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus. The UN gave such assurances to Nicosia.|

Invited to comment on Annan's statement, issued Tuesday, the minister said "it is obvious that the UN are very serious with this round of negotiations and believe they have an obligation to apply all their weight in order to see some outcome from these talks."

He said the statement is "an indication that Annan wishes to encourage the two sides to do something at their next couple of meetings before Alvaro de Soto briefs him in early April."

Annan said Tuesday he would review progress in the Cyprus talks in the first week of April, approximately at mid point between the start of the direct talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides and the target of June.

On de Soto's consultations in Ankara and Athens, prior to his return to the UN seat, Kasoulides noted that "there are some keys, especially in Ankara, which are still not in place to unlock certain doors."

"We participate in these talks in a constructive spirit and with political will to find a settlement, if there is no progress, the responsibility must be sought elsewhere," he said.

Replying to questions, he said June remains a landmark timetable for Cyprus and pointed out that this is the first time that peace negotiations have a window of opportunity which is closing.

"We should reasonably expect results by June," he said.

Commenting on a visit here today by US State Department Special Coordinator Thomas Weston, Kasoulides said once he is briefed by de Soto and the two sides about the state of the negotiations, he should direct his attention to the Turkish side, if he wishes to see progress towards a settlement.

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash started direct talks, under UN auspices, on 16 January this year in Nicosia with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

There is a news blackout on the talks but judging by public statements Denktash has made over the past couple of months, it seems unlikely that any real progress has been made so far.

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