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UN trying to bridge gaps between two sides in revised text
2002-12-09 14:39:53

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- United Nations, Dec 9 (CNA) - The United Nations are trying to bridge the gap based on the substantive comments of the two sides in Cyprus to the initial solution plan which the UN Secretary General submitted on November 11.

UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters during today's briefing that the UN are ''rushing as fast as they can'' to come up with the next draft and they are concentrating on December 12 when the Copenhagen European Council will begin.

Asked what the Secretary General meant when he said earlier today that a revised text would be ready ''shortly'', Eckhard said if Annan wanted ''to be more specific, he would have been''.|

Eckhard referred to a ''rather intense schedule of meetings'' the UN chief's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto is having with the two sides in Cyprus. ''So, clearly, they are trying to bridge the gaps, based on the substantive comments given by both sides to the initial draft'', he said.

''We are rushing as fast as we can to come up with the next draft, but I don't think we can say whether it will be hours or days. But we have our eye on Copenhagen and the 12th of December'', Eckhard said.

Asked how far apart the responses of the two sides were, Eckhard quoted de Soto, who had said he would not comment substantively at this time. ''Therefore, I am not going to either. And we just have to allow his good offices to continue to work, to try to bring the parties to agree on a single text'', Eckhard added.

To a question whether the Secretary General has received an invitation to go to Copenhagen, Eckhard said ''you heard him saying that as for today he has no plan to go to Copenhagen''.

The UN Spokesman said that Annan would meet sometime tomorrow with Turkey's ruling party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The island expects to be invited to join the EU in Copenhagen.


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