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Annan very concerned by delay
2002-11-19 15:12:22

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis United Nations, Nov 19 (CNA) ? UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is worried by the delay in the start of the talks on his blueprint for a Cyprus settlement, due to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's illness.

In a statement this evening attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary General, the UN Chief said he received a letter from President Glafcos Clerides expressing his readiness to begin negotiations without delay but he has not yet received such an indication from the Turkish Cypriot side.

It also said that Kofi Annan has asked his Special Advisor, Alvaro de Soto, to meet him in Europe at the end of the week to take stock of what is going on.|

"Last 11 November, when the SG conveyed to the Cypriot leaders his proposal to bridge the gaps between them and break the deadlock in negotiations, he asked them to convey their reaction to Mr. De Soto, his Special Adviser within a week," UN spokesman said.

"Yesterday, 18 November, the SG received a letter from Mr. Clerides expressing his readiness to begin negotiations without delay on the basis of the document that is before the two leaders. He has not yet received such an indication from the Turkish Cypriot side", he added.

''The Secretary General is very concerned. A way to get negotiations under way needs to be found urgently, because further delay could result in the disappearance of the opportunity,'' the spokesman underlined.

He said "the plan the Secretary-General has submitted has a calendar designed to allow the parties to seize this opportunity, and that requires the main issues to be resolved prior to the Copenhagen European Council. The calendar is part and parcel of the plan," he added.

"The Secretary General has asked Mr. De Soto, his Special Adviser, to meet him in Europe at the end of the week so as to taker stock and examine what the UN can do to bring the process forward," the spokesman said.

In the statement, the Secretary General acknowledges that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, "remains hospitalized in New York and that he requires consultations before he can provide the UN with the reaction that was required."

The Secretary General presented on November 11 his plan to the two sides in Cyprus, as well as the guarantor powers under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, Greece, Turkey and the UK. It provides a basis for an agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

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.

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

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