February 11, 2004 



"This afternoon at 4.00 pm.. Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders will meet again with the Secretary General to resume the discussions, which were adjourned late yesterday afternoon."

Question: On the Cyprus talks you said that the talks adjourned yesterday. Would fail will be a fair substitute for adjourned?

Eckhard: I think that Alvaro de Soto answered to your question last night when he was asked pretty much the same thing “is this a failure or a set back?, he said, no it is just a pause. So they are coming back today at 4.00 p.m. and let’s see what happens.

Question: As they continue, is it clear that they will move to Cyprus or could they continue further at the UN?

Eckhard: I think anything is possible, let’s see how it goes this afternoon. If it goes well and the talks are then to move to the nuts and bolts phase under Alvaro de Soto we’ll have to see where they announce that next phase of discussions to take place.

Question: …whether the Secretary General has any conditions for continuing the Cyprus talks?

Eckhard: I don’t think we want to say that he has conditions other than his plan that is on the table when he’s already said that should the two agree on changes to that plan, he is ready to make those changes. So it’s really up to the sides to come up with a common platform for the referenda. That’s what he is trying to facilitate.

Question: Maybe I have misunderstood because I thought he had some conditions and now you say there aren’t conditions now other than… 

Eckhard: You asked about conditions yesterday and I said I wouldn’t want to throw obstacles in the way of talks that are just getting underway. So let them talk, see if they can sort out their differences and see if Mr. De Soto can give you a readout after today’s meetings.

Question: The SG says and you just repeated it, that should the two sides agree on changes he would be willing to accept them. Does this include the methodology and the principles like the timetable or the requests that the points that are not agreed should be filled in by the SG, and go to referenda. Those basic concepts will also be subject to change if the two sides agree on changes.

Eckhard: Let’s not speculate about how things may proceed this afternoon and what changes either side might ask for. The basic principle is that anything the two sides agree to, the SG would go along with.

Question: Do you expect that the Cyprus talks will be concluded today?

Eckhard: I think that’s probably the Secretary General’s preference but I don’t think we can predict concretely that they’ll end today. Let’s wait and see how this afternoon session goes.

Question: How are the Cyprus guarantors, the UK and others helping? Have they been into the process or only been reached by phone or briefed?

Eckhard: Representatives of the three guarantors UK , Greece and Turkey are in the wings of these talks and are prepared to help as required should the SG ask for their help.

Question: has it done it yet?

Eckhard: He is asking for their help, yes.

Question: What kind of help is he looking for?

Eckhard: Pressure on the parties to negotiate seriously their differences and come to agreement that can be put to simultaneous referenda, the two sides of the island, by the first of May.

Question: You said you asked the guarantor countries to put pressure on the sides, to bring them closer to an agreement. Are you also in touch with some other countries that are actively supporting the solution process on the island like the US to actively…

Eckhard: I don’t have the answer to that question. I know the SG has been talking to the guarantors, he’s asked them to be here for the session of talks so that he could interact with them and I know he has interacted with them. I can’t say anything about anyone else he might have had contact with.

Question: The request for the assistance for the guarantors that you just have described, was it done yesterday, in the last couple of weeks or was just after yesterday’s session before today?

Eckhard: Because the guarantors are in the wings, I think it’s safe to assume that his interaction with them took place prior to and very possible after last night’s session.

Question: Will it be any private meetings with the SG?

Eckhard: There are not on the schedule thus far so I think they expect at this time anyway to go directly into three-way talks at 4 o’clock .

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