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Annan still hopeful for an agreement before Copenhagen
2002-11-19 14:55:57

Nicosia, Nov 19 (CNA) ? United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said Tuesday he was hopeful the two sides in Cyprus could reach an agreement on Cyprus before the Copenhagen European Council in December.

The Secretary General said once he has the reaction of the Turkish Cypriot side, then he would determine how to proceed to the next phase, AFP quoted Annan as saying.

He described his plan as solid, noting it could help the sides find a solution to the long-standing conflict.|

Speaking at a press conference in the southern Yugoslav province of Kosovo, Annan said he was "still hopeful we will have an agreement," when asked if he believed a deal before the Copenhagen European Council next month was possible. "I have put forward to the two parties the proposal that I believe could be a basis for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem," he said.

The European Commission has recommended Cyprus and nine other candidate countries conclude accession negotiations with the European Union by the end of the year.

Annan added that "lots of dates have been thrown around and lots of deadlines indicated" but did not comment on concerns that December 12 was too soon to anticipate a deal.

The Greek Cypriot side replied Monday to the UN within the requested time framework of seven days from the day the UN proposal was presented on November 11.

However, the Turkish Cypriot side failed to meet Monday's deadline. Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is still recovering in New York since October 7 following open-heart surgery. His advisor, Ergun Olgun, said Monday that Denktash had not yet been able to consult with members of his regime in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus or with Turkish Cypriot political leaders.

Denktash was also unable to consult with the Turkish authorities.

"Once I have got this reaction, we will determine how we proceed to the next phase," said Annan, adding that his proposal is "solid and it could help the parties find a solution to this long-standing conflict," AFP quoted Annan as saying.

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