No basis for active UN role as Cyprus standoff continues, Security Council told

8 June 2004
Alvaro de Soto

Secretary-General Kofi Annan does not see any basis for resuming his active good offices on Cyprus now that it has missed its final chance to join the European Union as a united country, a senior United Nations adviser told the Security Council today.

On 24 April, Greek Cypriots rejected by a three-to-one margin a plan that would have created a United Cyprus Republic comprised of a Greek Cypriot constituent state and a Turkish Cypriot constituent state linked by a federal government. In a separate, simultaneous referendum, Turkish Cypriots approved the plan by a two-to-one vote.

“Throughout the effort, which began in late 1999, the goal has been to bring about a settlement through a decision of the people on each side,” Alvaro de Soto, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, said in his briefing to Council. Now that a decision has been made, it “must be respected.”

He also pointed out that although Cyprus remained divided, a great deal had nevertheless been achieved through the negotiation effort. He called for building on this progress to keep alive the prospects of reconciliation and reunification in the future.

The Secretary-General has voiced hope that Greek Cypriots will reflect on the outcome of the process in the coming months. “We need to better understand the reasons for their strong rejection of the plan,” Mr. de Soto said. “And we need to know how the Greek Cypriot side sees the way forward.”

The Secretary-General has also welcomed the fact that the Turkish Cypriots, in approving the plan, unequivocally signalled their commitment to reunification. “This is more than a mere expression of goodwill for a solution to the Cyprus problem: the Turkish Cypriot people have clearly backed away from their search for separate sovereign statehood,” Mr. de Soto said. “This is a fundamental turnabout in the direction taken by the Turkish Cypriot side for over two decades.”

The Security Council, which had fully backed the Secretary-General’s efforts, should play its part by giving “a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development.”

The envoy stressed that this was not meant to “afford recognition or to assist secession, but rather to promote reunification and reconciliation.”


Video of Council meeting [13mins]


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