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Top UN Cyprus envoy wants intensified talks
2002-03-27 19:52:59

Larnaca, Mar 27 (CNA) -- The top UN envoy on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, who has been conducting peace talks on the island, wishes to see negotiations intensified in the next round of discussions, beginning 9 April.

Alvaro de Soto also said on departure for consultations in Ankara, Athens and New York, that he would not be satisfied until there is a comprehensive settlement.

The UN senior diplomat clarified that the target date of June does not mean an abrupt end to the peace talks, if the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders do not complete their task by June.

Speaking to journalists at Larnaca airport, he said the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will conduct a review at approximately mid point in the process of the talks, that began on 16 January.

He said the target date of June for the conclusion of the talks was mentioned by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides separately.

"It is not a deadline in the sense that a guillotine is going to fall if they don't complete the task by the month of June, it is a goal they have set themselves and it is a desirable goal," de Soto said.

He reiterated the encouragement issued by the Security Council that the two leaders should approach the task with a sense of urgency, political determination and willingness to give and take in the negotiations in order to achieve a highly desirable and long postponed goal of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The Peruvian diplomat said the review will be conducted by the Secretary General at the beginning of next week and towards the end of the week he would be briefing the members of the Security Council and then returning for the resumption of the talks on 9 April.

"They have held 22 meetings until now in this phase. These talks have been going on ten weeks and I feel this is a good time to try to assess how things are going," he added.

Asked how he would proceed in the next round of talks, he said he hopes "that we will see an intensification of the negotiations between the two leaders. What we will do will essentially depend on the need as we evaluate them at the time and this is precisely what we are going to be discussing in New York."

Invited to say if he is satisfied, he replied "I will not be satisfied until there is a comprehensive settlement."

President Clerides and Denktash started 16 January direct talks, under UN auspices, with a view to finding a comprehensive settlement.

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