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Kofi Annan: possible to make substantive progress on Cyprus by June
2002-04-04 09:33:48

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis United Nations, Apr 4 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan believes that it is still possible for the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to make substantive progress towards an agreement in June, if they set their mind to the task at hand.

Yesterday at the UN seat, Annan's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto briefed the five permanent members of the Security Council and met with the British and US envoys on Cyprus, Lord David Hannay and Thomas Weston.

"The Secretary General continues to believe that it is possible for the two parties to complete their work in June 2002, given political determination and an enhanced sense of urgency," Fred Eckhard said late Wednesday night, after consultations on Cyprus at the Security Council, in the presence of Hannay and Weston.|

A UN official, who requested anonymity, said that Annan "is undertaking a review of the Cyprus talks at mid-point".

"He met with his special adviser Alvaro de Soto, together with senior Secretariat colleagues. He met with US envoy, ambassador Thomas Weston, and UK envoy, Lord David Hannay, Wednesday," he said, adding that de Soto will return to Cyprus at the week's end.

Eckhard said he would talk to the press after de Soto has finished his contacts in New York.

Wednesday's meeting between Annan, Hannay and Weston was a surprise for many, as it had not been announced. UN officials did not wish to comment on the meeting, saying there was a news blackout on the Cyprus peace talks.

Security Council circles believe that the meeting aimed at coordinating the efforts of interested parties and aligning their thinking on the talks.

They also point to the insistence of the Secretary General and his special adviser on the target date of June to make substantive progress towards a settlement, something they view as "a measure of pressure on the part of the UN in all directions to lead the talks into substantive negotiations."

Participants to last night's meeting with de Soto drafted the text of a statement on Cyprus which current Council president Russian ambassador Sergey Lavrov will make today.

De Soto has attended 22 meetings in Cyprus between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Dentkash since the direct talks started on 16 January this year. He is due to resume the discussions on 9 April.

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