Cyprus Annan encouraged by discussions with Turkish Prime Minister

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “indicated his Government’s strong desire for the Turkish Cypriots to resume talks with the Greek Cypriots with a view to resolving outstanding issues by 1 May,” the spokesman said in a statement. Mr. Annan, who plans to study the Prime Minister’s position carefully, “indicated that his good offices were still open if the parties were to demonstrate the will to conclude, with UN assistance, an agreement, including the holding of referenda, by 1 May,” the spokesman added. Speaking directly to the press in Davos, Mr. Annan stressed that political will would be required by all. “Obviously, if we are going to have talks, all parties concerned – the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the motherlands, Turkey and Greece – must be committed to the talks and everyone must show a willingness to sustain the effort and to seek a settlement.” He added that a settlement to the long-running Cyprus dispute “would not only be in the interests of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, it would also be in the interests of Turkey and Greece, and improve considerably Turkish relations with the European Union.” Mr. Annan was also asked to comment on the resignation of United States weapons inspector David Kay. “I was not surprised because he had more or less given a report” to the US authorities, the Secretary-General replied, adding, “I think his report and what he says should be taken seriously.”

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