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UN prepare for talks and work of committees
2002-12-31 08:56:53

Nicosia, Dec 31 (CNA) -- The UN continue their preparatory work in view of next week's return to Cyprus by UN Secretary General's special advisor Alvaro de Soto and ahead of Tuesday's meeting of two ad hoc technical committees, in the context of the peace talks.

A UN official has told CNA that de Soto is scheduled to be on the island next week, but his travel plans to Athens and Ankara are not yet finalized.

The same official said that talks to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus will continue in earnest, even though at this stage no formal discussions are planned between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides.|

A source close to the talks, commenting on the negotiations that took place in Copenhagen on the sidelines of the European Union summit, has told CNA that during these discussions some changes were introduced to the UN proposed plan on a comprehensive settlement.

The same source said that the text of the plan, as it now stands, provides that an additional 20,000 illegal settlers, who came to the island's Turkish occupied areas after the 1974 Turkish invasion, will have to leave, once a settlement is agreed.

Other issues which were rectified in the proposal reflect rather minor amendments, the same source added.

Meanwhile, UN officers are in contact with the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot side to the two ad hoc technical committees, which are due to meet on Tuesday 7 January.

The committees, comprising legal experts from both sides, are to study international treaties and legislation that will be in force, if and when a comprehensive settlement is reached.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged both sides in a letter in mid December to complete the text of the technical issues.

''This work is long overdue indeed. It should not await achievement of agreement on substantive issues and does not require the active involvement of the lead negotiators on each side,'' Annan said in his letter.

The Greek Cypriot side intends to hand to the UN on Thursday its suggestions on the first ten bills of legislation it believes discussions should begin on.

Next week de Soto's working team, made up of legal experts, will be in Cyprus. Two of his advisors, Australian lawyer Robert Dann and Swiss constitutional expert Didier Pfirter are to deal with the two ah hoc committees.

On Monday the Turkish Cypriots, members of the committees, met for consultations with Ergun Olgun, advisor to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Dentkash.

CNA MM/??/2002

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