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UN chief expects Clerides and Denktash to make progress
2002-09-06 15:34:13

By Maria Myles -- Paris, Sep 6 (CNA) - The UN Secretary General expects Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to make "very significant progress" by the first week in October, when he will be meeting them again in New York after today's encounter in the French capital, Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto said here today.

Speaking to the press after a two-hour-long lunch Kofi Annan hosted for President Clerides and Denktash, de Soto also said the UN chief expects the leaders to remain committed to the goal of negotiating a comprehensive settlement and work towards this direction in a more intensified manner.

"The purpose of the New York meeting is to review progress and encourage them to continue their efforts. We are not saying we expect the settlement to be solved by the first week of October but the Secretary General is hoping for very significant progress," de Soto told the press.

Asked by CNA if he had secured a commitment to this effect by Clerides and Denktash this time round, de Soto said "this is certainly the Secretary General's expectation and both leaders remain committed to the goal of negotiating a comprehensive settlement."

On his own role in the negotiating process, de Soto said it was "the responsibility, the role and the duty of the two leaders that is important" and not his own.

Replying to other questions, he said that at today's meetings Annan, President Clerides and Denktash "did take stock, there was a frank discussion and they discussed ways in which a course could be charted for the way ahead."

He said they have agreed to go back to Cyprus and work to try and intensify progress and they also agreed that "progress will be kept under close review and for that purpose they will be gathering with the Secretary General again on October 3 and 4."

De Soto returns to the island on Tuesday and regular meetings in the context of the ongoing direct talks he is conducting begin on Wednesday.

President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks since mid January this year with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

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