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Alvaro de Soto to brief Annan on Cyprus
2002-07-01 07:59:43

Nicosia, Jul 1 (CNA) ? UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has said that the major breakthrough the UN had hoped for by the end of the June target date is not going to happen.

The top UN envoy on Cyprus leaves Wednesday for Vienna, where he will meet and brief Kofi Annan on the course of the direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

He then flies on to New York where Tuesday, 9th July, he will brief the Security Council, whose current president, Britain's permanent representative Sir Jeremy Greenstock, will make a statement after the briefing.

"We are facing a conundrum and I have to discuss this with the Secretary General," de Soto told CNA, noting that so far the two sides "have relied on bilateral negotiation" at the talks. The two sides, he said, seem to find it difficult to negotiate by themselves.

"There is not going to be this major breakthrough we hoped for," he told CNA.|

He said that had this happened, it would have facilitated enormously and made the drafting of legal texts much easier.

De Soto explained that the UN were trying to crack the four core issues as these were identified by Annan --governance, security, territory and property -- by the end of June, a target date initially suggested by Denktash and agreed upon by the President and the UN.

"The parties cannot get down to the legal drafting and both sides, one more than the other, seem to underestimate the amount of legal drafting that needs to be done," de Soto said.

Referring to the sense of urgency to reach an agreement, de Soto said accession of Cyprus to the European Union is a pressing factor and should be taken into consideration.

"The EU enlargement process and the Secretary General's good offices are separate processes, though not incompatible and they obey their own calendars. Each has its own different mandate," he said.

He pointed out, however, that "to argue that there is no relationship between the UN and the EU processes would be to pretend that EU enlargement had no bearing on the negotiations."

That, he added, would be an attitude of "childlike naivety."

"The UN keeps its independence, the Secretary General reports to the Security Council and he must take into account the existing international context," de Soto said.

Direct talks began in January, in the presence of Alvaro de Soto, between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides with a view to negotiating until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

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