Statement BY UN SECRETARY GENERAL's SPOKESMAN FRED ECKHARD oN Cyprus
February 9, 2004
Question: Just a bit more about what the Secretary
General is willing to do with the coming out of the talks tomorrow on
Spokesman: I think it is too early to say anything
more than his hope is that the two sides and the two motherlands are now firmly
committed to resolving their outstanding differences on the basis of the plan
thatís on the table and that this can be resolved in time of the referenda so
that the whole process can be completed by the 1st of May. As to
details like whether he would accept leaving some issues open I donít want to
speculate what his negotiate strategy would be. I mean he is looking for the two
Question: How many meetings will be tomorrow?
Spokesman: We donít have those details yet. There
was a planning meeting, the Secretary General and his principle advisers on
Question: When he is saying that he wants to agree with the leaders on the ground rules of how to proceed what does he mean?
Spokesman: you know what the situation is the plan is on the table, an effort he made last year to get the two sides to agree to that plan failed, he felt that there wasnít a serious enough political commitment for the talks to succeed and he said he wasnít going to get involved again until he saw signs of that commitment. He now sees signs that they are serious about trying to meet the 1st of May deadline so I think he wants to hear from each side what their opening position is, how far apart they are, how much flexibility there is on either side to compromise and then see if the whole process can be accelerated to a successful conclusion.
Question: Does this mean that the Secretary General will listen to the parties about the procedures regarding the plan on the table?Spokesman: Well, he has spoken to them individually but yes the formal talks begin tomorrow. As I said we donít have the details of the mechanics of whatís going to take place tomorrow, we hope to have that later this afternoon but I would have imagined that the opening steps would be for the two sides to present their current position.
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