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President confers with advisers
2002-11-11 09:21:48

Nicosia, Nov 11 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides had an hour-long meeting this morning with his close advisers in anticipation of a meeting later today with UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.

All indications are that de Soto will hand to the President a UN blueprint on a solution of the Cyprus question. The same document will be handed to the Turkish Cypriot side at the same time in New York, where Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is recovering from heart surgery. The UN will also give the document to the permanent representatives to the UN of the three guarantor powers of Cyprus' independence, namely Britain, Greece and Turkey.|

De Soto, who returned to the island from the UN seat early this morning, has asked to see the President today, after nearly two weeks of consultations with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and foreign envoys involved in the Cyprus peace process.

The document is handed to the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides just over a month before a crucial European Union meeting in Copenhagen, in mid December, when Brussels is expected to put its final seal of approval to Cyprus' accession, with or without a political settlement.

This is the first time in nearly ten years that the UN will be submitting what political analysts describe as the most comprehensive plan on a political settlement of the protracted Cyprus question.

The last time the UN put forward a similar type of document was in 1992 by the then Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali.

President Clerides was in touch Sunday night with Athens, where Premier Costas Simitis held a three hour long meeting with members of his cabinet, including Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

Speaking after the meeting, Papandreou said any solution in Cyprus must be in line with UN resolutions and the European Union laws and regulations.

''If we can find a settlement before the EU summit in Copenhagen in December, then all is well, if not then, negotiations to reach agreement will continue,'' Papandreou said.

He said Greece and Cyprus are facing an ''historic moment'' and recalled that both Athens and Nicosia have always sought a more active participation and involvement on the part of the UN in the peace process.

Over the past couple of weeks there has been a flurry of activity, meetings, consultations, telephone calls among all interested parties in New York, Athens, Nicosia, Turkey and Brussels.

Press reports on the proposed UN blueprint suggest that this covers the four core issues that have been under discussion in the past ten months in the context of the direct talks between the President and Denktash.

These relate to governance, security, territory and properties.

Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

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