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UN top Cyprus envoy says Annan wants two leaders to intensify talks
2002-05-03 09:19:26

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis- United Nations, May 3 (CNA) -- Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary General's special adviser for Cyprus, has said that Kofi Annan's intention to visit Cyprus is sending a message to the two leaders that they need to step up their efforts towards a negotiated settlement.

De Soto, who was speaking after an announcement here that Annan would visit Cyprus (probably in mid May), also said that the international community cares and wants badly a solution in Cyprus or at least the outline of a solution to emerge by the end of June, a target date agreed upon by all the parties concerned.

"The Secretary General is concerned at the slow pace of progress in the negotiation and his purpose in visiting the island and meeting with the two leaders is to urge them to step up the pace and to discuss with them what they can do further to bring it forward," de Soto has told CNA.|

He said direct talks will resume on Tuesday (May 7) afternoon and Annan very much hopes that there will already be a significant picking up of the pace by the time he gets to Cyprus.

"His purpose is not to cut a gordian knot but to urge on the process, it sends a political message, we hope that it will be received by the two leaders and the people, that the international community cares and very much wants a solution or at least the outline of a solution to emerge by the end of June," de Soto added.

Replying to questions about the major problems that prevent a settlement, he said "we feel that solutions are available for all the issues that divide them, if there is a spirit of compromise and if they engage in the negotiations with a sense of give and take."

"We are there to help them if they are unable to work it out amongst themselves directly, we feel that international circumstances that exist now should actually favor their reaching a settlement. This is why I am talking about a window of opportunity," de Soto said.

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged in direct talks, in de Soto's presence, since mid January this year.

The UN official said the Secretary General sees security, governance, territory and property as the core issues under discussion. Asked about June being a possible deadline, he said this is "a target date rather than a deadline."

"It is not as if everything were over if we don't achieve the result by the end of June. What we are hoping for is that by the end of June they will be able to essentially crack the central problems on all the core issues leaving only for negotiation, following that, legal drafting and details to be worked out," he explained.

Replying to questions, he said the international community feels it has a say in ensuring taht a settlement is brought about in order to ensure stability in the region and the recovery of a situation that is stable and the reunification of Cyprus.

De Soto returns to Cyprus early next week for the resumption of the talks on Tuesday.

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