President Clerides on the UN peace process


August 24, 2001


Speaking to the Press on August 24, President Glafcos Clerides said that he would assess the situation when the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side becomes clear, if and when UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calls fresh talks. “It appears that Turkey has exerted pressure on Mr. Denktash (leader of the Turkish Cypriot community) to return to the negotiating table,” President Clerides said upon his return from his holidays, adding that Denktash’s readiness to negotiate or not will emerge soon

Denktash is due to meet Annan on Tuesday August 28 in Salzburg, Austria, a move widely believed to herald the resumption of the stalled UN-led peace talks, which Denktash , backed by Ankara, abandoned last November.

President Clerides said Denktash’s actions are probably another move by the Turkish side to avoid general criticism that, while talks were taking place, they abandoned the negotiating table. “We shall assess this when we see what their stance is, if and when talks resume,” the President added. Asked if Annan’s special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto is likely to present more documents during his contacts on the island, the President said the UN envoy, who arrives on August 29 shall meet him that afternoon and have a working breakfast the following morning. “We shall continue the exchange of views and our discussions on Thursday afternoon,” he said.

Asked if de Soto’s contacts indicate a ‘give and take’ procedure, the President replied “at this stage, it is neither give nor take. At present Mr. de Soto will mainly concentrate on procedural matters and then he will brief the Secretary General, who will decide if and when he will call for talks,” the President added.

Replying to questions, he said, “it is certain that de Soto will not put forward any papers” during next week’s meetings. “As de Soto has planned the visit, it looks as if he will deal with procedural matters, it is though possible that he might raise some questions on issues of substance, I cannot exclude that possibility,” the President said.

This is the second time de Soto visits Cyprus this year. He was here in late January. The Peruvian diplomat, who holds the rank of Under-Secretary General, chaired several rounds of proximity talks with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides from December 1999 to November 2000, when Denktash withdrew from them, declaring them dead.

* * * * *