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UN expects replies possibly today, says spokesman
2002-12-03 09:29:49

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- United Nations, Dec 3 (CNA) -- The UN expects the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides to hand in their comments on a proposal Secretary General Kofi Annan put forward to both of them last month, with regard to a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhart said here Monday the UN will assess the notes from both sides and then decide whether it will revise the original proposal with a view to bringing the two sides to agree on a single text.|

''We did ask from both sides to give their substantive comments to the Secretary General's proposal. Alvaro de Soto, his special envoy, is in Ankara today (Monday) and met with the foreign minister and he does expect to get these substantive comments from both sides, perhaps as early as tomorrow,'' Eckhart said.

He said Kofi Annan had not fixed any date for calling the two sides together.

Replying to questions about changes the Turkish side wishes to see to the UN proposal, the spokesman explained that the point of putting forward the plan was to get the reactions from both sides so that it could be revised as necessary.

''So as soon as we get Mr Denktash's substantive comments on the plan and those from the Greek Cypriot side, we can compare notes and decide how, if at all, we want to revise the plan,'' Eckhart said.

The idea, he added, ''is to bring the two sides together to agree on a single text.''

Asked if Annan believes there is enough time to complete the negotiations before next week's European Union summit in Copenhagen, he noted that time is running out.

''We do not have much time but we are making every effort to meet the deadline. We think it is probably the best opportunity we have had yet to resolve the Cyprus issue and we are doing everything we can to bring this matter to a head by the Copenhagen summit,'' he said.

The Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides are expected within the next day or so to give Annan their comments on points raised in his proposal which they wish to negotiate on and amend. CNA AZ/MM/2002

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