De Soto increasingly involved in talks process

U.N. SPECIAL envoy Alvaro de Soto is taking a “more intense and more active” part in the direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem since the recent visit of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said after yesterday’s meeting of the National Council.

At the meeting, President Glafcos Clerides briefed the leaders of the eight parliamentary parties who make up the Council about his talks with the Greek Government last week, at which “all scenarios” from the talks were discussed.

Papapetrou said the National Council would meet again next Thursday, when the parties were expected to “present their positions orally” on what they had heard.

Asked if De Soto had submitted any papers at the talks between Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Papapetrou would only state that no suggestions had been put forward, but did not specify if that excluded oral suggestions.

The two leaders met on Tuesday to discuss security issues, as part of the ongoing series of talks that started in January.

The Government Spokesman – who attends the talks as one of Clerides’ advisers – would only comment that tomorrow’s meeting would also deal with security, but said no agenda had been set for beyond that meeting, adding: “The government expresses neither optimism nor pessimism. we have a long way to go and we have many obstacles to overcome.”