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Hannay to work for a settlement before EU December summit
2002-10-27 10:53:57

Nicosia, Oct 27 (CNA) -- Britain has pledged to do all it can to help the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides to reach a comprehensive settlement before the European Union summit in mid December, London's special representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay has said.

In a written statement on departure after two days of talks here, he said he came at a "very critical time for the settlement process" and noted that there are still gaps to be bridged on most of the core issues under discussion before agreement can be reached.|

He said that the negotiations since January have registered some progress, and enabled the positions of both sides to be more clearly understood, but noted that "there are still gaps to be bridged on most of the core issues before agreement can be reached."

President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged in direct talks, under UN auspices, focusing their attention on four core issues, governance, security, territory and property.

"I found a general appreciation of the fact that key decisions will have to be taken in the coming weeks; I found also an understanding of the benefits to all Cypriots if agreement can be reached on a just and viable comprehensive settlement paving the way for a reunited Cyprus to enter the EU," Hannay said.

The British government, he added, together with its European Union partners, has just reaffirmed its support at the highest level of the efforts of the UN Secretary General and his special adviser, Alvaro De Soto, who have a crucial role to play in the period ahead of us.

"We will do everything we can to support the negotiations with a view to reaching an agreement before the EU meeting in Copenhagen in December," the British envoy said.

He said he discussed the issues in depth with a wide range of interlocutors from both sides.

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