Transcript of comments by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
to the Press at the Palais des Nations
on 5 July after opening the Cyprus proximity talks

5 July, 2000


The Secretary-General: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. We have just had our first meeting with the two parties and we discussed the approach and the fact that we are going to make a sustained effort to try and find a solution tot his crisis over the next couple of months. I did also appeal to the leaders to respect a strict blackout on the substance of the discussion, issues in the discussion, as well as the procedures. So you will understand ladies and gentlemen if I am not able to share much with you because I have to set an example. At the end of the discussions, and at an appropriate time, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, my Special Representative, will say something to you. I am ready for questions.

Question: Are you still optimistic to get results in the Cyprus proximity talks by the end of the year? And did you discuss the incidents with the peacekeeping force?

The Secretary-General: That was mentioned en passant. That is really not part of the negotiations that we are undertaking here. It is a separate issue and we are dealing with it separately: Not only are we dealing with it separately in New York, I have also had a change to talk to Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit briefly about it today.

Question: Do you expect face-to-face talks between the two leaders soon?

The Secretary-General: Only time will tell.

Question: Will Mr. Denktash go back to celebrate the invasion?

The Secretary-General: I think on the issue of the UN troops, I have answered that question, that we are dealing with it separately and it is not part of the issues that we are discussing here in Geneva and we should not confuse the issues. Yes it is correct that Mr. Denktash will want to go back to Cyprus for the commemoration of the 1974 events. Of course, this is an event which also leads to some commemoration or some demonstrations in the south. I have appealed to both leaders to ensure that these commemorations are low-key and that the rhetoric is brought under control and no one should say or do anything that can enflame tensions at a time when we are at the negotiating table.

Question: Will the two leaders go back to Cyprus?

The Secretary-General: I beg your pardon, who will have the possibility to be there in Cyprus? I think I have answered that question.

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