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Kasoulides: time is very vital for agreement
2002-11-26 17:34:32

by Kyriakos Tsioupras London, Nov 26 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides believes that time is running out for negotiations on a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, before the European Union summit in mid December.

Speaking here after a meeting with Minister of State for European Affairs Denis Macshane, the Cypriot official said he had a ''frank discussion about the reality of the situation'' with regard to the UN proposal.|

''At the meeting we said that the proposal can constitute a basis for negotiations and we pointed out that the delay on the part of the Turkish side undoubtedly limits the time for negotiations to the extent that it may not allow the talks to be concluded by 12 December,'' Kasoulides said.

Kofi Annan asked the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides to inform him if they accept his proposal as basis for negotiations. The Greek Cypriot side said it would negotiate on the proposal, the Turkish Cypriot side has yet to reply.

Annan laid down a timeframe for the negotiations and asked the two sides to conclude a foundation agreement by December 12.

Replying to questions, the foreign minister said there is readiness to achieve something before the EU summit and explained that success in this attempt depends on time.

''Unfortunately, time is very tight to be able to say that this can be achieved,'' he added.

The minister will be the key note speaker at a dinner organised tonight by the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood and tomorrow he will meet his British counterpart Jack Straw.

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