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Cyprus Vote Disappointing - Security Council Told

Cyprus Vote Disappointing UN Official Tells Security Council

While the outcome of Saturday's vote in Cyprus on a unity plan was disappointing, the United Nations had come closer than ever before to resolving one of the most delicate and complex conflicts on its agenda, a senior UN official told the Security Council today.

That achievement must be preserved, pending, one hoped, a fundamental re-evaluation on the Greek Cypriot side, Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said in his briefing to the Council.

"What matters is to arrive at a careful and accurate assessment of the full implications for the United Nations of last Saturday's outcome and to make appropriate recommendations," he stressed.

Seventy-six per cent of the votes cast Saturday in the Greek Cypriot referendum were against a plan by Secretary-General Kofi Annan that would have created a United Cyprus Republic, comprised of a Greek Cypriot constituent state and a Turkish Cypriot constituent state and linked by a federal government. Turkish Cypriots voted 65 per cent in favour of the referendum.

"Time is needed for the dust to settle from the outcome of the referenda," Mr. Prendergast said. "The full implications of the outcome of these referenda may take a while to become apparent."

Mr. Annan told a news conference that he remains convinced the plan is the only realistic basis for reunifying the island, which he believes is the sincere desire of the majority of Cypriots in both communities.

"The vote by the Greek Cypriots to reject my proposals last Saturday was of course a great disappointment, since it means that Cyprus will not now enter the European Union [on 1 May] as a reunited island," he said.

"I salute the Turkish Cypriots for their courageous vote in favour of the proposals. We must all do our best to see that they are not penalized for the way the vote went in the other part of the island," he added. "I hope that before too long the Greek Cypriots will have an opportunity to consider the plan more calmly, and to judge it on its true merits."

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