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Annan says his document could provide sound basis for agreement
2002-11-20 10:10:38

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis -- United Nations, Nov 20 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in his report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, that his bleuprint for a Cyprus settlement could provide a sound basis for agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem and expressed hope that ''it will be possible to bring the effort to a decisive conclusion in the coming weeks.''

Annan recommended in his report issued on November 15 that the Security Council extend the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further period of six months, until 15 June 2003.|

He referred to the meetings he had with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in September in Paris and in October in New York.

''I shared with them my growing concern that the talks were not producing the kind of progress that was needed if the opportunity at hand was to be seized. Direct talks were unfortunately interrupted by Mr. Denktash's surgery,'' Annan noted.

Referring to the submission of his blueprint, he noted that ''on 11 November, after long and extensive preparations, I conveyed to the two leaders a document which, in my considered opinion, could provide a sound basis for agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. I am awaiting the reaction of the parties, and hope it will be possible to bring the effort to a decisive conclusion in the coming weeks.''

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.

The Turkish Cypriot side has failed to meet Monday's deadline. Denktash is still recovering in New York since October 7 following open-heart surgery.

The report is covering developments from May 30 to 15 November 2002 and says the situation along the ceasefire line was generally calm.

''There were, however, moments of tension, due mainly to the National Guard improving its defensive positions and living quarters along the ceasefire line. The Turkish forces made some improvements to their observation posts, including a position near Pyla, a mixed village in the buffer zone,'' the SG noted.

He said ''there were 37 recorded air violations during this reporting period: 8 by National Guard aircraft, 24 by Turkish military aircraft, 2 by a Greek Cypriot civilian light aircraft and 3 by civilian aircraft from the north''.

He added ''restrictions imposed on UNFICYP in July 2000 by the Turkish forces and the Turkish Cypriot authorities continued, including the violation of the military status quo in the village of Strovilia, where recently Turkish soldiers have begun to carry loaded firearms during patrols. There was no progress in restoring the status quo ante in Strovilia.''

Referring to the restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions, he noted that UNFICYP facilitated 28 events bringing together some 13,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the buffer zone.

The UN chief said that Turkish Cypriot authorities informed UNFICYP that they would construct a new road linking the residents of Pyla in the buffer zone to Arsos, a village in the north.

''The Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Pyla currently use a shorter road that runs through the British Sovereign Base Area. UNFICYP declined to grant permission on security grounds. Turkish Cypriots staged a number of peaceful demonstrations in support of their demand. UNFICYP granted permission for Turkish Cypriots to sink a bore well on the plateau near Pyla to supply water to the adjoining village of Pergamos,'' Annan said.

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

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