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Annan to encourage leaders to achieve something by June
2002-05-08 16:53:37

Nicosia, May 8 (CNA) - The UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, said here today that during his forthcoming visit to the island, UN chief Kofi Annan would like to encourage the leaders of the two communities to continue their talks so that they come up with something tangible by the end of June.

Speaking after being received this morning by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, de Soto said the United Nations were prepared to actively intervene in the talks at any moment.|

The Peruvian diplomat attends UN-led face-to-face talks between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. The leaders of the two communities began talks in mid-January with a view to negotiate in good faith until a solution is found to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

The UN envoy said that Annan "would like to come here to encourage the two leaders to press on and to come up with something tangible by the end of next month".

Asked what method of encouragement Annan, who arrives here on May 14, would use, de Soto said: "Persuasion".

Invited to say whether the UN chief would have a pleasant surprise up his sleeve, de Soto said "I don't want to rule out anything".

Referring to the UN's role over the next few weeks, de Soto said "it will continue to be a role of good offices, because that is how it is defined, that is how it was defined by the Security Council and how it was phrased in the invitation the Secretary General issued for the meeting to which the two sides agreed".

"Good offices means encouraging the two sides and being of help in whatever way we can on the substance and on the procedure", he added.

Asked if it was time for the UN to intervene in the talks more actively, de Soto said "that is one of the things we are prepared to do at any moment but that is not new, that is something that has been available to the two sides since the beginning and I am sure it is one of the things that the Secretary General will want to discuss with the two sides".

"The Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots must agree on a comprehensive settlement. That is how it has got to be and they have to come to the conclusion, which to me is self-evident, that it is in their interest to reach a comprehensive settlement and to reach it very soon", he added.

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