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Cyprus-Britain agree on urgent need for progress
2002-06-11 09:23:25

Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) -- Time is running out for the Cyprus peace effort and there is now an urgent need to make progress towards a negotiated settlement, President Glafcos Clerides and Britain's representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay believe.

Speaking after a working breakfast here today the President hosted for Hannay, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the former had the opportunity to outline his assessment of the ongoing direct talks he has been engaged in for the past six months.

"The President and Lord Hannay reviewed the course of the talks and they reiterated their belief that time is running out and that now, more than ever before, there is an urgent need to make progress towards a settlement," Papapetrou said.|

He said that during the course of conversation with Hannay, the President, once more, backed his argument that the Greek Cypriot side is doing everything possible and shows every possible flexibility to bring the talks to a successful conclusion.

"Any negative outcome of the talks or the non-satisfactory result so far cannot be blamed on the Greek Cypriot side in any way," the spokesman stressed.

Asked why President Clerides felt the need to point this out to Hannay, he said this is a pivotal part of the strategy of the Greek Cypriot side, which should be highlighted at every given opportunity, together with the desire to solve the Cyprus question, in case the current peace effort fails due to Turkish intransigence.

Replying to questions, Papapetrou said Hannay briefed the President about his recent meetings in Ankara and London's moves and efforts with regard to the peace process.

The British diplomat, the spokesman added, said that Britain is working closely with the US, the European Union and the UN on Cyprus.

He said Hannay brought "absolutely nothing" with him, when asked if the British envoy had any solution plan in his luggage.

Questioned on the peace talks, Papapetrou, who participates as a member of President Clerides' negotiating team, said that today's meeting will be "indicative" of how things are moving.

"From now on, time constraints are becoming very limited and every meeting we have and every minute is crucial," he said.

Talks are meant to reach some kind of agreement on the core issues (governance, security, territory, property) by the end of June, described as a target date by all interested parties. So far there is no indication that a tangible outcome from the talks is feasible.

Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of its territory since 1974 in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

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