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Cyprus: Annan Welcomes British Visit

Cyprus: Annan Welcomes British Foreign Secretary’s Visit, Urges Comprehensive Solution

New York, Jan 23 2006

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today applauded this week’s visit by the British Foreign Secretary to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, saying it would “complement the active engagement of the United Nations” in trying to resolve the Cyprus issue.

In a <"http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sgsm10316.doc.htm">statement made by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan said he “remains deeply committed to the search for a comprehensive solution” in Cyprus and welcomed the upcoming visit of Jack Straw.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been operating since 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and one of its roles is to monitor ceasefire lines that extend some 180 kilometres across the island.

Last month the Security Council extended UNFICYP’s mandate until the middle of June, following Mr. Annan’s report on the country that noted the situation in Cyprus was calm but “progress toward a political solution remains negligible at best.”

“I continue to believe that only the achievement of a comprehensive settlement will bring an end to the Cyprus problem,” Mr. Annan noted in December.

At that time the Security Council urged both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to avoid any action which could lead to an increase in tension and also expressed concern over the conduct of military exercises that had not been seen since 2001.

Official contacts between the two parties have not resumed since the April 2004 referendum on a comprehensive settlement plan failed. About 65 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the plan, while 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots voted against.

ENDS

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