Cyprus president voices support for Annan’s peace initiatives

Cyprus president voices support for Annan’s peace initiatives

Efforts to settle the Cyprus problem should be carried out under the auspices of the United Nations, the president of the country said today, voicing support for Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s latest initiatives.

“The search for a settlement firmly remains for us in the United Nations framework, within the context of the good offices mission mandated to the Secretary-General by the Security Council,” President Tassas Papadopoulos told the General Assembly’s annual general debate.

He said Cyprus concurs with the Secretary-General’s view that “good and careful preparation of any negotiating process is necessary before full-fledged negotiations can take place.”

The President also recalled that in response to this, the sides agreed that “bicommunal discussions at the technical level would commence to address substantive aspects of the Cyprus problem, as well as issues that affect the everyday life of all Cypriots as long as the status quo persists, a process that would be complemented by parallel confidence-building.”

This agreement was reached during a recent visit to Cyprus by Ibrahim Gambari, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, President Papadopoulos noted, voicing appreciation for the efforts of UN officials to address the issue.

“While sharing the assessment of the Secretary-General that a cautious and step-by-step approach is the appropriate way forward given the fragility of the process, we also hold that an effort to avoid another failure with potentially lasting catastrophic consequences demands laying the necessary groundwork,” he said, adding that this requires addressing “some of the core and more complex dimensions of the Cyprus problem.”

With regard to relations with Turkey, he said “there is only one way forward: creating a future of peace and cooperation and building bridges and mutual understanding, normalizing our relations and working hand in hand to achieve the goals of the European Union in our region.”