Statement BY UN SECRETARY GENERAL's  SPOKESMAN FRED ECKHARD oN Cyprus


February 12, 2004 

Eckhard: The Secretary General expects to meet this afternoon at 3pm with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders once again. This will be for the third day of discussions on the basis of his plan for Cyprus . Asked whether he believed progress could be made in the Cyprus talks he said yesterday: ďAs long as we are talking we are making progress.Ē He added that: ďWe are going to do whatever we can to make that progressĒ.

Question: If there is an agreement today in what matter will it be announced? Mr. de Soto will appear and say and a number of things? Will statements come from the Secretary General or the Secretary General will appear with the two leaders or the two leaders appear individually and make statements?

Eckhard: Thatís a very hypothetical question. Weíve trying to solve this for forty years. Itís nice to speculate that there could be agreement today but letís wait and see what happens.

Question: Depending on the methodology, I mean..

Eckhard: Letís see what happens today. They will talk amongst themselves, depending on the outcome of todayís talks and then a decision will be made whether Mr. De Soto will come down and speak, whether he will come down with the representatives of the two parties, whether the SG will join that party, letís wait and see. But thereís still a negotiating session left at least one.

Question: Any chance for the talks to continue tomorrow or this is might be last meeting?

Eckhard: I canít tell you. I though it was going to end on Tuesday and now is Thursday. Weíve got the weekend. I would hope it could be wrapped up today. But remember thatís what I said on Tuesday.

Question: An announcement, if we were to have an agreement, would you expect it to take place in Washington ?

Eckhard: Why?

Question:  For credit. To take the credit.  

Eckhard: The talks are happening here and if thereís any agreement to the talks here the announcement will be made from here.

Question: What is the Secretary Generalís feeling about the reported proposal made by Mr. Denktash that an extra step be added to the Plan such as any remaining issues there, could be resolved and be handed over to see if Greece and Turkey can handle them and if they canít, then the SG is the final arbiter who would go to a referendum? 

Eckhard: Thank you for that briefing on the confidential talks taking place in Headquarters here. I am not going to comment on any of the specifics that are under discussion. Letís see what happens today and letís see what if anything emerges in the way of a public blueprint for where they go from here should they agree today. But you are not going to draw me on that one.

Question: Was the proposal by Mr. Denktash a press story and why the talks were extended for today?

Eckhard: I am not authorized to go to any details on what happen to yesterdayís talks. You should get full story if and when agreement is reached. And that then will come from Mr. de Soto or the two parties.

Question: You canít give us any information at all?

Eckhard: About yesterdayís meeting? No.

Question: They are talking about filling in the blanks in the plan and thereís been a plan on the table for sometime. Itís not I presume, under discussion now. What are those blanks that we are talking about? Can you refresh us?

Eckhard: I canít, because the two sides have to sit down and say where they disagree if they do disagree and itís safe to assume that they disagree and then they have to negotiate with each other how to resolve those differences. The Secretary Generalís proposal was if you find you canít resolve this or that then leave it to me to fill in the blanks as a fair exercise of his good offices function. That was his proposal.

Question: Can you give us one word description to tell us how the Secretary Generalís feeling about theÖ

Eckhard: It went better yesterday than the day before.

Question: Does the goal remain that the talks would shift to Cyprus for the nuts and bolts phase?

Eckhard: Yes, I think itís probably fair to see whatís taking place here in New York as the Secretary General is looking to be convinced by the two sides that they are serious about reaching agreement. Once thatís established then he will send them off to work with Mr. De Soto to try to sort out their remaining differences.

* * * * *


Back