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Kasoulides says UN determined to see progress
2002-09-09 17:16:13

Larnaca, Sep 9 (CNA) - Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides believes that the United Nations are determined to become more active in the peace effort and render the talks more substantive.

The Minister, speaking on departure for the UN seat to attend the General Assembly beginning tomorrow, also said the Greek Cypriot side will continue to be constructive at the negotiating table but expressed regret over the absence of a similar response from the Turkish side.|

"We see a determination on the part of the UN to be more involved in the direct talks and to see that the dialogue becomes more substantive," Kasoulides said, adding that "what is lacking from this equation is the political will of the Turkish side and the meetings in the weeks ahead will show whether there is a will or not."

The Minister's comments come after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked last Friday President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to intensify their efforts for progress towards a negotiated settlement and report to him in early October in New York.

Asked if a solution is possible by February next year, when presidential elections are due, Kasoulides said "as things stand at present, I do not see a solution by February, in the recent past there has been no progress towards a solution."

Replying to questions, he said he does not expect Annan to put forward any ideas or plans by 3 October when he meets Clerides and Denktash in New York.

Invited to comment on press reports suggesting an extension of President Clerides' term in office, which ends in February, he said it sounds absurd to discuss such matters at this stage.

"We are not anywhere near a solution now, there is no point in dealing with such issues," he added.

While in New York, the Minister will meet his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, British envoy for Cyprus Lord David Hannay and other foreign ministers from Europe and elsewhere.

He is due to return home at around 22 September.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

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