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Annan calls on leaders to focus on core issues
2002-05-16 09:47:51

Larnaca, May 16 (CNA) - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has asked the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to focus on the core issues of government, security, territory and property, during talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

Speaking at Larnaca Airport, after wrapping up his visit to Cyprus, Annan said both Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, have reaffirmed their readiness to intensify their effort, noting that he leaves the island with the commitment of both leaders to go about this effort in a genuine spirit of "give-and-take".

In his opening remarks, Annan said that yesterday he "called on HE Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and on HE Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader" and "the three of us met last night and I had the pleasure of hosting both of them to dinner".

"Altogether, I have had several hours of discussions on both the substance and procedure", he added.

The Secretary General said he was "even more deeply convinced that this is the time to press on and rise to the challenges that we face", adding that "an historical opportunity exists now to reach a comprehensive settlement".

He pointed out "there is no doubt in my mind that this would be in the interest of both sides and the region and that opportunity must be seized".

"I have reminded both leaders of the responsibility they shoulder and of my willingness to help them reach their goal they set out to achieve at the end of last year", Annan said.

The UN Chief assured "the two leaders have both stated to me their readiness to intensify their effort" and noted "I come away from Cyprus with the commitment of both leaders to go about this effort in a genuine spirit of give- and-take".

"Despite their differences on substance and on the timeframe, I am still convinced that between now and the end of June they can resolve all the core issues provided they go about their task decisively and with the necessary political will", he said. Annan noted that "the core issues I have asked them to focus on are government, security, territory and property".

"Of course, the two leaders agreed last December that all issues are on the table. I appeal to the two leaders to do just that and I am looking to the motherlands, Greece and Turkey, for sustained and constructive support", he said.|

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