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UN chief expects Cyprus progress by June
2002-04-23 09:18:28

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis United Nations, Apr 23 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated he expects substantial progress to be made in the Cyprus direct talks being held in Nicosia.

His special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will return to New York by the end of April to report to the UN chief and brief the Security Council on May 3.|

Speaking at a press conference here yesterday Annan expressed hope that President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will work hard to make progress by the end of June.

Replying to a question about prospects for a breakthrough in the Cyprus peace talks, the Secretary-General said he was looking forward to the end of June to see substantial progress in the talks.

"I think both leaders have indicated that they want to end it by June. I hope that they would work as hard as we would expect to make that progress by the end of June. I am in touch with Alvaro de Soto, who is back on the island facilitating the talks. I really hope that by June, we will have made some real, substantial progress", he said.

Alvaro de Soto will travel to New York by the end of April for consultations with Annan and the five permanent members and to brief the 15-member Security Council on the latest developments in Cyprus.

According to UN sources, the Peruvian diplomat will brief the Security Council on May 3, during an informal meeting.

Alvaro de Soto is currently on a tour of European capitals to discuss developments in the Cyprus problem. He is due back to Cyprus on Thursday, April 25, to attend more direct talks between Clerides and Denktash, before flying to New York.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

CNA AZ/GP/2002

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