No deal on UN’s Cyprus plan due to ‘failings of political will,’ Security Council told
The inability to reach agreement on a plan that would enable a united Cyprus to accede to the European Union could be ascribed to failings of political will rather than to the absence of favourable circumstances, the senior United Nations official dealing with the issue told the Security Council today.
In an open briefing to the Council, Alvaro de Soto, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, noted that the Cyprus problem was the oldest item continually on the Secretary-General’s peace-making agenda.
“It is difficult to see a set of circumstances for achieving a settlement as propitious as that which prevailed in the last three and a half years,” Mr. de Soto said, referring to the Secretary-General’s efforts between late 1999 and 11 March to assist the two sides in Cyprus to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
In terms of the wider political environment in the region, all the conditions had been in place, Mr. de Soto noted. In addition, the Secretary-General had been deeply involved in the effort, with the strong support of the Council, and a “fair and honourable package,” comprehensive in approach and only needing technical finalization, had been on the table.
“The fact that a solution has not been achieved in these circumstances is therefore deeply disappointing,” he said. “It seems attributable to failings of political will rather than to the absence of favourable circumstances.”
Mr. de Soto stressed that a “unique opportunity has been missed,” with the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots having been denied the chance to vote to reunite Cyprus, which the Secretary-General deeply regretted. “The immediate losers are the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, but the Greek Cypriots and Greece are also losers – this is truly a lose-lose outcome.”
Looking to the future, Mr. de Soto reiterated the Secretary-General’s intention not to take a new initiative, unless and until he had solid reason to believe that the political will existed, which was needed for a successful outcome. “The onus is on the parties – and the motherlands – to demonstrate the political will to solve the problem on the basis of his plan, in the manner which the Secretary-General has suggested,” he said.
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