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UN wants a reply from Denktash the soonest
2002-11-25 17:51:15

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis United Nations, Nov 25 (CNA) - The UN wants a reply from Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement the soonest and will take things from there on.

Assistant Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here today during a daily press briefing that the UN has still not received an official answer from the Turkish Cypriot leader and would not want to predict when it would be given, saying ''that question is probably best reserved for him''.

He also said the Secretary General would be in direct touch with the Turkish and Greek governments.|

The Spokesman repeated that ''time is of the essence'' and that the UN understands that Denktash, who has been recuperating in New York since October 7 when he underwent open-heart surgery, has health problems. However he stressed ''we want to receive an answer as soon as possible''.

''The next step for us is to hear from Mr. Denktash. I cannot go further than that. We are waiting to hear from him his preliminary reaction to the plan. And I will take it from there'', the Spokesman remarked.

Dujarric said the Secretary General had not used the word ''deadline'' when he asked the two sides to give their reply to his plan by November 18. ''As the Secretary General said in a statement last week, he is encouraged by the positive responses he is hearing for his plan and we are looking forward to hearing from Mr. Denktash''.

He said Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Yasar Yakis will be seeing Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto tomorrow in Berlin, ''so we will have more after that meeting''.

Asked if the UN chief plans to call the two leaders for talks in New York, Dujarric said the Secretary General ''will be in touch with the Turkish and Greek governments as well, directly, so we are consulting. He added that he did not have any other specific information on that.

To a question if he believes there is enough time to complete the negotiations before the 12th of December when the European Council will convene in Copenhagen to decide on the enlargement of the European Union, Dujarric said ''things have to start before we can speculate whether or not there is enough time''.

The Spokesman mentioned the meetings the Secretary General held in Paris while on an official visit there. The Cyprus problem was among the issues discussed with President Jacques Chirac.

He added that the Security Council would vote later today on a resolution for the renewal of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate.

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