10 February 2003

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, could we have more details on the Cyprus talks?

SG: Well, you know I invited the two leaders to come here to give me a specific answer as to whether they will be ready to put the agreement, the plan, to simultaneous referenda and we are discussing that. The talks are on-going, and I cannot give you much more than that at this stage. I am meeting them again later today, and after that I may have something to say. So just be a little patient.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, your Special Adviser on Cyprus has said that you had invited the parties to answer a simple question and that you wanted a simple answer – yes or no. Are we to assume that talks could be extended until tomorrow?

SG: I think I have answered your question. I indicated that the talks are still on-going and I started by saying that I've asked to come and answer this question. I am seeing them later this afternoon and after that you will have an answer. And sometimes to get to what you call a simple “yes” or “no” takes quite a lot of doing.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, is this the last chance for peace in Cyprus ?

SG: I think it is a real opportunity, it is a unique opportunity, which if it is missed, I am not sure is going to come around for a long, long time. And as I have indicated, I doubt if it will come around again during my term as Secretary-General and I have a little under four years to go.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, are you still expecting an answer today ? Or is it postponed?

SG: That's why we are here.


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