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UN says Nov 18th deadline still on
2002-11-14 14:53:41

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis United Nations, Nov 14 (CNA) -- The United Nations said here Thursday the seven-day deadline which the Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave on Monday to the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to respond to his plan, was still on.

UN spokeswoman, Hua Jiang, said Annan had asked the two leaders of the two sides to refrain from taking a formal public position on the plan but instead to take some time to consider it and then to convey their first reactions to his Special Advisor, Alvaro de Soto, within a week.

The spokeswoman said Kofi Annan returned to New York where "also noted the encouraging signals on Cyprus that are coming out of Ankara, Athens, Washington and other capitals''. |

Invited to confirm statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's advisor, Ergun Olgun, who had said that after speaking with Alvaro de Soto, the Turkish Cypriot side got an extension on giving its reply, Hua said she was not in position to confirm the report of the extension.

She acknowledged that the UN did talk to Alvaro de Soto today and "the SG had asked the two leaders to refrain from taking a formal public position on the document he had send them, but instead to take some time to consider it and then to convey their first reactions to Mr. De Soto within a week".

Hua said the SG "did not want to impose a deadline on the parties but he thought that one week was sufficient", adding that Annan "hopes that the parties will share a sense of urgency as they must realise that the opportunity that now exists will come to an end in few weeks. So delay will deprive the parties of precious time for negotiations".

Asked if the deadline was still on, Hua replied, "as far as we know, yes".

To a question if that meant he did not impose a deadline as well for December 12th, when the Copenhagen European Council will be held, Hua said "all the other details are spelled out in the document itself. But as far as the SG's concern, he still expects to hear their response by next Monday. So all the other details still stand so far".

Invited to say what will be done then, she said "we will have to see the response from the two leaders first, before anybody can decide what to do next and how to precede from there".

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