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Clerides and Denktash resume talks
2003-01-15 10:25:08

Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- UN-led Cyprus peace talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash resumed here today, in the presence of UN Secretary General's special advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.

No one of the two leaders' aides attends the meeting that it was taking place at the UN-controlled Nicosia airport area.

In statements to the press prior to his departure from the Presidential Palace, President Clerides said the outcome of the talks would depend on several international factors.

Asked to comment on statements made yesterday in New York by the UN chief, Clerides noted that Annan referred to several international problems that have not been resolved.

"For the first time he (Annan) referred to the Cyprus problem", Clerides said, adding that teh Secretary-General seems to believe that the possibility for a solution still exists.

Invited to say whether Annan's statements allow optimism, Clerides said: ''Talks will continue. Their outcome will depend on several international factors.''|

Invited to say whether this could happen by February 28, 2003, the target date set by Annan, President Clerides said ''this is something we will see once the negotiations begin. Today's meeting will be a private one to decide how we move on.''

Annan said yesterday that the UN "are going to press ahead with the negotiations, the deadline of the 28th of February is a firm one" and noted that the UN is in striking distance of reuniting Cyprus.

Today's meeting will be followed by a working lunch hosted by Alvaro De Soto.

An UNFICYP spokesman told CNA that media were not allowed to cover the meeting, within the framework of the general blackout imposed on the talks and that this was not something decided unilateraly by the UN.

The UN-sponsored direct talks started a year ago and they were suspended October 2002 because of Denktash's ill health.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.


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