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Kofi Annan undecided on Cyprus
2002-11-06 08:24:44

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis United Nations, Nov 6 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is still undecided as to his next move in the Cyprus peace process, as he himself has said.

As consultations on Cyprus continue at the UN seat, it has emerged that Annan has received letters on the matter from US President George Bush and British and Dutch Premiers, Toni Blair and Wim Kok, in which they express support for Annan's peace effort and a proposed UN solution plan for Cyprus.

Annan had a telephone conversation with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou with regard to Cyprus, who expressed his support for the UN chief's peace efforts and said any settlement should be in line with UN resolutions and the European Union laws and regulations.

A similar message was sent to Annan by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who in a letter he stressed the importance of reaching a viable solution that would create a state that can function properly and take decisions with regard to the EU, which Cyprus is expected to join in 2004.

Speaking after a briefing he received from his special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, Annan said his envoy gave him ''a thorough briefing on what he has been doing since I last saw him.''|

Annan said de Soto had just come back from the region (Cyprus-Greece- Turkey) and it was appropriate to bring him up to date on where things stand and then, as the UN chief said, ''for me to take the next decision on the next steps of where we go.''

Asked if he was still undecided, Annan said ''if I had decided you would probably know, when I decide you will know because you guys are very quick.''
Replying to questions about his meeting with de Soto, he said he always think of the future and added that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides had to make substantial progress by December.

According to diplomatic sources, Annan continues to believe that he should not put forward any solution plan to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides right away, a view that does not seem to be shared by US and British diplomats as well as European circles involved in the Cyprus question, who wish him to present the plan as soon as possible.

The decision about the submission of a plan has become more complicated because of the prolonged period of recovery Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash needs to return to his duties after an open heart surgery and the absence of a government in Turkey, following Sunday's elections, in addition to the positions of the sides involved.

Denktash has been out of action since 7 October, when he underwent surgery and is still in New York at doctors' order.

Alvaro de Soto has been conducting direct talks with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash since January with a view at finding a comprehensive settlement.

The UN is expected to put forward some ideas to the two sides to facilitate the negotiations to move forward and if possible reach some agreement prior to the European Union summit in mid December.

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

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