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Annan's report on UN refers to Cyprus
2002-09-12 06:58:53

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis -- United Nations, Sep 12 (CNA) -- A report to the UN General Assembly by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the organisation's activities in the past year outlines his attempts to help make headway in the UN-led Cyprus peace talks, which started on the island in January.

References to Cyprus are also made in press releases by the UN Secretariat that note specifically last week's meeting in Paris between Annan, President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who represent the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, respectively, at the peace talks.|

Paragraph 33 of Annan's report notes that "direct talks between the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots began, following an agreement reached in December 2001. The talks have been taking place in the UN Protected Area and in the presence of my special Adviser" Alvaro de Soto.

"I traveled to Cyprus in May 2002, to encourage the two leaders to quicken the pace of the talks, resolve the key issues and achieve a comprehensive settlement this year," it said, announcing a meeting with both leaders on 6 September "with a view to taking stock of the current talks and charting a course for the way ahead."

The meeting took place in Paris. Annan first had separate meetings with Denktash and Clerides and then hosted a working lunch for both leaders.

"In the meantime, UNFICYP continued to monitor the buffer zone across Cyprus," the paragraph added.

Commenting on the Paris meetings, an announcement by the Secretariat said "on Friday morning, the Secretary-General met with His Excellency Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, and then with His Excellency Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader. He later hosted a lunch with both gentlemen."

"The Secretary-General asked the leaders to return to Cyprus and work with his Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto, on the issues that had been highlighted to them that day. He suggested they all meet again in New York on 3 and 4 October", it added.

In a statement issued after the lunch, the Secretary-General voiced the hope that the leaders would tackle with urgency the matters that were discussed before their next meeting, and said Mr. de Soto would work with them to achieve the requisite progress.

Referring to recent press speculation, he said, "My discussions today (last Firday) confirm my belief that, though serious differences remain, the elements of a comprehensive settlement that would meet the basic needs of both sides do, in fact, exist."

He said he believes the gaps dividing the parties can be bridged, and, on some issues, those gaps are "quite a bit smaller" than they were at the beginning of the talks.

"There is an opportunity at hand, waiting to be seized, the Secretary-General affirmed", he said.

On Annan's contacts in Johannesburg, the UN said the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen, current President of the European Union "agreed that there was a need for good faith and rapid progress in the talks on Cyprus."

"The Secretary-General also met with the President of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and the Greek Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, with whom he discussed Iraq and Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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