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Annan: Cyprus talks will continue
2002-12-13 14:03:20

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- United Nations, Dec 13 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said efforts to reach an agreement on Cyprus would continue, adding that the talks on Cyprus have not collapsed.

Annan said he hoped the work that has been done will not be wasted and that the people of Cyprus, both Turkish and Greeks, will see an advantage in pursuing this effort and bringing it to a fruitful conclusion.

Invited to give his reaction to the "collapse" of the talks for a Cyprus settlement on the sidelines of the Copenhagen European Council, Annan replied "I wouldn't call it collapse. By collapse you mean we don't have an agreement yet. I think we will assess where we are and then see how we move forward. But, I wouldn't say the talks collapsed. We hadn't had an agreement, but we will continue".

Asked by journalists as he entered the UN headquarters, whether he was disappointed, bearing in mind that the international community invested a lot on this effort, Annan replied "absolutely".

"We were very close and I was very hopeful that we could get an agreement", Annan said, adding that he had told Turkish Justice and Development leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "for a known soccer player like himself the game is not over until the final whistle. And it looks like we are not going to get there", he added.|

Annan said what needs to be done is "to take stock, reassess and analyze what happened and decide how to move forward".

"I hope the work that has been done will not be wasted and that the people of Cyprus, both Turkish and Greeks, will see an advantage in pursuing this effort and bringing it to a fruitful conclusion".

He would not say who is responsible for the failure, noting it is too "early for me to get into that yet".

To a question whether he will ask the Security Council to endorse his plan, Annan said that at this stage "I haven't determined to go to the Council to seek endorsement".

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory. The European Union is expected to announce later Friday the accession of Cyprus into its ranks.

CNA/AZ/EC/GP/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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