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Cypriot Parties Want Settlement, But Gap Is Wide

UN Political Affairs Chief Says Cypriot Parties Want Settlement, But Gap Is Wide

New York, Jun 22 2005 3:00PM

Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots want a settlement on the divided island, but establishing common ground between them requires what only they can provide – mutual confidence, courage, vision and political will, the United Nations chief of political affairs said today.

"Outsiders can help, but it is the parties who must summon the vision, courage and political will needed to make a settlement, with all that this implies by way of compromise. Leaders have to lead, not just follow their supporters," Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast told the Security Council in a report on his recent pulse-taking tour of the region.

"A settlement will only become possible if the parties act towards each other in a way that conveys respect, understanding for one another's concerns and a desire for an early settlement," he said.

He noted that the plan for settlement put forward by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which the Greeks rejected with a 76 per cent no vote in April of last year and the Turkish Cypriots welcomed with a 2-to-1 yes vote, was "fully in accordance with the vision of a settlement contained in Security Council resolutions."

The plan would have created a United Cyprus Republic, with a Greek Cypriot constituent state and a Turkish Cypriot constituent state linked by a federal government.

"Launching an intensive new process prematurely would be inadvisable" and Mr. Annan would reflect on the future of his mission of good offices, taking into account the Council's reaction to Sir Kieran's assessment, the Under-Secretary-General said.

In any resumed negotiations, Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos said he wished revisit the plan's main issues, without establishing a hierarchy, "including governance, security, citizenship, residency, property, territory, economic and financial issues, transition periods and guarantees of implementation," a list Sir Kieran thought the other side would find daunting.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat wished the Security Council to respond to Mr. Annan's May 2004 good offices report, Sir Kieran said, noting that the lack of Council response to his side's compromises had surprised not only Turkish Cypriots, but also Mr. Annan.

Meanwhile, "Depending on the evolution of events and attitudes on the island, it may become appropriate to consider appointing a Special Adviser, on a when-actually-employed basis," since only through negotiations between the two sides on the basis of the plan could a settlement be achieved, Sir Kieran said.


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