Press Releases

    SG/SM/8508/Rev.1*
    21 November 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL "VERY CONCERNED" REGARDING
    URGENT NEED TO GET NEGOTIATIONS ON CYPRUS UNDER WAY

    NEW YORK, 19 November (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    Last 11 November, when the Secretary-General conveyed to the Cypriot leaders his proposal to bridge the gaps between them and break the deadlock in negotiations, he asked them to convey their reaction to Alvaro de Soto, his Special Adviser, within a week.

    Yesterday, 18 November, the Secretary-General received a letter from Mr. Clerides expressing his readiness to begin negotiations without delay on the basis of the document that is before the two leaders. He has not yet received such an indication from the Turkish Cypriot side.

    We understand that Mr. Denktash remains hospitalized in New York and that he requires consultations before he can provide the United Nations with the reaction that was requested.

    The Secretary-General is very concerned. A way to get negotiations under way needs to be found urgently, because further delay could result in the disappearance of the opportunity that is at hand. The plan the Secretary-General has submitted has a calendar designed to allow the parties to seize this opportunity, and that requires the main issues to be resolved prior to the Copenhagen European Council. The calendar is part and parcel of the plan.

    The Secretary-General has asked Mr. de Soto, his Special Adviser, to meet him in Europe at the end of the week so as to take stock and examine what the United Nations can do to bring the process forward.

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    * Revised for technical reasons.