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Greek And Turkish Cypriot Leaders Meet

GREEK AND TURKISH CYPRIOT LEADERS MEET AS TALKS RESUME UNDER UN AUSPICES

New York, Feb 19 2004 2:00PM

The Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders met for direct talks today in Cyprus as negotiations resumed on a plan by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to reunify the island nation before its entry into the European Union on 1 May.

Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met this morning for just over two and half hours in the presence of the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto.

The head of the UN mission in Cyprus, Zbigniew Wlosowicz, also attended the meetings, which took place at the Nicosia Conference centre in the UN protected area.

Last week the two leaders agreed to continue negotiations until 22 March on the basis of Mr. Annan's plan. If an agreement on modifications to the plan can be reached, then the entire proposal will be submitted to separate referenda in April for approval by the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.

Speaking to reporters after today's session, Mr. de Soto described the meeting as "very constructive," adding that there had been "ample good will and [a] businesslike spirit" shown by the two sides.

Mr. de Soto said that both leaders had agreed that they and their delegations schedule meetings with the UN Good Offices team every morning at 9:30, leaving afternoons free "for internal consultations."

Meanwhile, the technical committees of experts dealing with law and treaties also began their work today.

2004-02-19 00:00:00.000

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

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