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Cyprus talks on schedule UN envoy says

The meetings in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, aim to finalize changes to a plan put forward by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that will be submitted for approval by the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots at two separate referenda on 20 April. Greece and Turkey are present at this stage of the talks to lend a hand, and the two countries’ Prime Ministers are expected to join the discussions on Sunday.Should this last push fail to resolve disagreements, Mr. Annan would then step in to use his discretion to complete his blueprint, which would ultimately create a federation of two constituent states – a Greek Cypriot state and a Turkish Cypriot state – and contains some suggestions for security arrangements between Greece and Turkey.The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto, told the press today that the setting is in many ways ideal, since the participants from the Greek Cypriot side, the Turkish Cypriot side, Greece and Turkey are able to interact in a way that is unusual for them.”I think that to that extent, it is a successful endeavour,” he said, noting that the four parties were able to sit down together at a dinner he hosted and engage each other in a format that allowed “fluid interaction” under the aegis of the UN.The real test, Mr. de Soto added, is whether it will be possible to have an agreed text by 31 March that goes to referenda, rather than one that is finalized by the Secretary-General. “I have hope that it is possible to indeed have such an agreed text and this is what we are striving for,” he said.

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