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Cyprus hopes Annan's visit would create momentum in peace effort
2002-05-13 10:48:19

Nicosia, May 13 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government expects that tomorrow's visit to Cyprus by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would create a momentum in the ongoing peace effort and help move the direct talks make headway.

Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here today that he anticipates that Annan would apply his diplomatic and political skills, afforded to him by his high post, to move the peace talks forward quickly.

"The Secretary General does not intend to submit any plan for a solution. We believe that the meaning and the objective of his presence here is to create a momentum in the peace process to assist the process out of the current difficult phase," Papapetrou said.|

The spokesman said that the Secretary General and the UN have at their disposal "diplomatic, political means to promote their goals, which in this case is to make headway in the peace process and do it fast."

"We expect the Secretary General to apply these possibilities available to him towards this direction," Papapetrou said.

Replying to questions, he said that the government is not of the view that during the visit there will be statements similar to some past remarks. In September 2000, President Clerides sought and got clarifications on a UN statement by Annan regarding the equal status of the two parties involved in the talks.

Invited to comment on public criticism Denktash has had from Turkish vice president Mesut Yilmaz, the spokesman said the government believes that Turkey is approaching a time when it will have to decide whether it wishes to continue with its European prospects or carry on with its occupation of Cyprus' northern areas.

"The government, without underestimating the importance of such public remarks, is not interested in what people say in their speeches but in what is submitted at the negotiating table," he said, only to add "and what we see at the table is unacceptable."

Yilmaz called on Denktash to be more conciliatory at the talks and said a paper on a prospective solution, the Turkish Cypriot leader put forward, is not good enough.

He also warned that if Turkey misses the European Union train, in ten years' time Turkish military will outnumber the Turkish Cypriots in occupied Cyprus.

UN-led direct talks began on 16 January here and so far expectations for a breakthrough by the June target date have been dashed by unacceptable demands for two separate states put forward by Denktash.

The Security Council called on both sides, but "in particular the Turkish side" to cooperate fully with Alvaro de Soto in solving their differences.

Papapetrou said the Secretary General arrives late Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning he would meet President Glafcos Clerides and then the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Rauf Denktash.

Later the same day, he would have a joint meeting with the two leaders at the UN administered area in Nicosia airport (defunct since the 1974 Turkish invasion) and in the evening he would host a dinner for Clerides and Denktash at the residence of his acting special representative and chief of mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz.

Present at these meeting will be Annan's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who has been on the island since mid January, conducting the direct talks.

On Thursday before leaving Annan would visit the UN peace keeping force, stationed on the island since March 1964.

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