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Annan's visit to Cyprus will be judged by its outcome
2002-05-16 15:34:37

Nicosia, May 16 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General (SG) Kofi Annan's visit to Cyprus will be judged by its outcome during the next meetings between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, within the framework of the UN-led direct talks, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here today, adding that "the talks have entered their most crucial stage," with the conclusion of the SG's visit.

Commenting on Annan's statements, which he made on his departure from the island, the Spokesman said the Cyprus government "would have been more happy if the UN SG's position was more decisive and clear when answering a question on whether there is an issue of recognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus, or an issue of separate sovereignties.

He added, however, that "should not mean anything else, since the Security Council has repeatedly stated that any solution to the Cyprus problem should fully take into account the relevant Security Council resolutions."|

Referring to Annan's visit, he said "the talks enter in their most crucial stage" and said, "given the narrow time limits, there is no possibility to lose any more valuable time."

He noted that "the government has welcomed the SG's visit to Cyprus as a reflection of the interest of the UN and the international community on the Cyprus problem," pointing out that "we still consider it a very important visit and we estimate the UN have an important, leading role to play in the development in the Cyprus question."

Papapetrou said our goal is to make our contribution to the successful fulfilling of the UN's role within the framework of relevant Security Council resolutions.

Commenting on Annan's statements today, Papapetrou said "it was obvious and perhaps expected that the SG has avoided to take any stand that might have been interpreted as touching the essence. That, in view of the fact that the talks are ongoing, could be understandable."

"I consider important the SG's reference to the need for the negotiation process to continue decisively on the core issues of the Cyprus problem, which once more have been defined clearly as governance, security, property and territory."

The Spokesman said "the SG's statement proves that (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash's reference that it was agreed to expand the core issues was inaccurate," adding that Annan has "reaffirmed the need to achieve an agreement on all important issues he has set, by the end of June, and this despite Denktash's objections."

He said that the SG "has clearly implied a more active UN intervention, thus let believe that some written suggestions or ideas might be submitted by the UN," while answering another question Annan said the issue relating to the so-called "economic embargo" imposed on the Turkish Cypriots would be solved once and for all through a settlement of the Cyprus question.

Papapetrou said Annan has urged both sides to proceed with decisiveness, within a spirit of give-and-take, and has underlined the special role of Cyprus' future accession to the EU both "to a solution of the Cyprus question and to a peaceful future of Greek and Turkish Cypriots."

Replying to a question on whether the methodology of the negotiations would be altered, Papapetrou said "we will see what will change on the methodology and the essence."

"What the SG has clearly asked as regards methodology is for Denktash to abandon his theoretical positions on his visions and proceed in a specific way to the discussion of the core issues, as reaffirmed today by the SG."

"Basically, the Turkish side was called on to cooperate in order for progress to be achieved," the Spokesman said. He added that "our position is to proceed with decisiveness, to discuss the core issues in a spirit of give-and-take, aiming at achieving an agreement by the end of June."

President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash launched UN-led face-to-face talks in mid-January this year, with a view to negotiate until a settlement is achieved. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Annan wrapped up a visit to Cyprus today.

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