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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Annan urges Cyprus talks progress
Rauf Denktash (left) and Glafcos Clerides at a meeting last December
The talks have been friendly but remain stalled
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has arrived in Cyprus to try to revive talks on the future of the divided island.

Mr Annan said he was "concerned at the slow progress" of discussions involving Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, which began at the start of the year.

When the UN-backed talks got under way, the two sides agreed that they would aim to have the basis of an accord thrashed out by the end of June.

But since then it has gradually become obvious that they are as far apart as ever, divided by the same long-standing issues that have bedevilled previous attempts to reach a settlement.

Night and day

The UN secretary general urged both sides to compromise to try to meet the June deadline.

However, all the signs are that the negotiations are in trouble.

One Turkish official described the two proposals on the table as being as different as night and day.

President Glafcos Clerides, representing the Greek Cypriot side in the negotiations, is seeking the reunification of Cyprus as a single state with two distinct zones and a shared central government.

Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, by contrast, is still believed to be insisting on recognition for the breakaway state of Northern Cyprus.

Mr Annan will meet leaders of both sides over the next few days but it is not clear exactly what his role will be.

The United Nations Security Council recently issued a statement suggesting that the Turkish Cypriot side needed to be encouraged to do more to help the talks succeed.

See also:

08 Jan 02 | Europe
Turkey foresees Cyprus settlement
03 Dec 01 | Europe
Cyprus' quiet crisis
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