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UN: Resumption of Cyprus talks depends whether criteria are met
2005-05-31 14:09:31

Larnaca, May 30 (CNA) – UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast stressed the objective of his visit to Cyprus is to take the pulse on the island and in the region, to listen to both sides and to ascertain if there is common ground to resume negotiations on Cyprus.

Speaking to reporters after arriving on the island where he will remain until June 2 and then will travel to Athens and Ankara for consultations, before returning to New York on 7 June 2005 to report to the Secretary General, Sir Kieran underlined that it is not a question of setting a date for the resumption of the talks but seeing whether the criteria and the requirements are met.

He also said that he will underline the responsibilities that lie on the parties for the pursuit of a comprehensive settlement.

Sir Kieran stressed that only through constructive efforts by the parties themselves there can be hope that progress can be achieved, noting he is under no illusions about the difficulties in making progress.

In his statement, Sir Kieran said he is on the island “in furtherance of the Secretary General’s mission of good offices. The objective in coming is to take the pulse on the island and in the region after a period of reflection by all sides following the results of last year’s referenda”.

Sir Kieran said the “UN respects the outcome of the referendum here. Primarily therefore this means that I am here to listen to both sides. We know that Greek Cypriots have concerns about the Anan Plan and about a number of developments. We know that Turkish Cypriots have concerns about a number of developments too''.

Referring to his meetings with the Cypriot President’s envoy Tasos Tzionis at the UN headquarters earlier this month, Sir Kieran said he had an “an initial but nevertheless detailed exchanged with the Greek Cypriot delegation two weeks ago. We listened carefully to them and I think that they also found useful what we had to say from our part”.

“I am here to continue in the same spirit with all parties. I am also here to underline the responsibilities that lie on the parties for the pursuit of a comprehensive settlement. I spoke about that with the Greek Cypriot delegation in New York and I will be stressing that with all my interlocutors”, he said.

The UN Under Secretary General noted ''only through constructive efforts by the parties themselves is the hope that progress can be achieved and I am under no illusions about the difficulties in making progress”.

Sir Kieran said he will not have “anything to report to you at the end of my visit here because I will be midway through a series of consultations which will also take me to Athens and to Ankara. And of course I have to report back to the Secretary General”.

Asked when we should realistically expect the start of the negotiations for Cyprus, Sir Kieran replied, “well that depends. The whole plan is to take the pulse, see weather there is a common ground. So it is not a question of setting a date. Is seeing whether the criteria, the requirements are met”.

Sir Kieran is set to meet Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos Tuesday morning and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on Wednesday. He will also meet political leaders on both sides.

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