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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-01-14

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>

Tuesday, 14 January 2003


  • [01] UN envoy returns to Cyprus to give new impetus to efforts for solution

[01] UN envoy returns to Cyprus to give new impetus to efforts for solution

The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, returned yesterday to the island for intensive consultations with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem by 28 February, on the basis of the revised UN plan submitted by the Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan on 10 December 2002.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ledra Palace, Nicosia, upon his arrival on the island after a stop in Turkey, where he met with government officials as well as the leader of the ruling party Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr. de Soto said that the timeframe to achieve a settlement was "pretty tight", with only about six weeks left to see negotiations through to a successful conclusion.

"As foreseen in the plan", the UN envoy explained, "the agreement of a comprehensive settlement, with all political issues resolved between the two leaders, all security issues between Greece and Turkey resolved, and all technical work completed, by 28 February, would allow just enough time for separate referenda to be prepared and conducted to enable the people to take an educated decision on 30 March", noting that if the results of the referenda were positive, "a new state of affairs in Cyprus would come into being on 31 March".

"That would then allow just two weeks to put in place certain basic parts of the new institutions of the common state, and allow the EU to revise and approve the terms of the accession treaty to accommodate the new state of affairs in the manner foreseen in the plan, so that a reunited Cyprus could sign the Treaty of Accession in Athens on 16 April", Mr. de Soto added.

With regard to the UN plan, he said that the Secretary-General had "crystallized inchoate trade-offs that were emerging during the ten months of talks between the two leaders" and that the revised plan "reflects nearly a year of intensive consultations and negotiations, and stands on the shoulders of decades of talks before that".

"As it stands, this plan represents what the Secretary-General believes is a fair and honourable compromise which addresses the core interests, aims, concerns, and even nightmares of each side. The plan foresees a new partnership in Cyprus on the basis of equality, to ensure peace, security, prosperity for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in a united island", he said, stressing that the plan had been accepted by both leaders, and by Greece and Turkey, as a basis for negotiation.

He also said that the revised plan established an "overall balance", and "if the overall balance is to be preserved, it will be necessary for both leaders to be very specific, measured, and focused regarding changes they wish to negotiate to the plan, should any be necessary, and to be prepared to give in order to take".

"Clearly, unilateral changes only in favour of one side will be acceptable to the other", he noted, adding that the choice for the interlocutors and the people on each side was not between this plan and a substantially different one, but "between this plan, perhaps with balanced refinements here and there as needed, and no agreement at all".

Referring to the work lying ahead, Mr. de Soto pointed out that the Secretary-General had suggested to President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash, and to Greece and Turkey, that there were three areas of work that should move forward, in parallel, in order to reach a settlement by the end of next month.

Firstly, he said, "the two leaders should come to terms on the basic, politically contentious issues that are dealt with in the Secretary- General's plan". "Second, Greece and Turkey have the responsibility to agree in a manner fully acceptable to both parties in Cyprus, on certain aspects of the security chapter of the settlement", and "third, important technical work on treaties that are to bind the common state of Cyprus from the moment of entry into force of an agreement, and on common state laws that are to be in force at that time, must be completed by the target date."

The UN diplomat told journalists that he would visit Athens for consultations on Thursday and also Ankara again soon, emphasising, at the same time, that from his recent talks in Greece and Turkey, it was clear that both motherlands strongly supported the achievement of a settlement on the basis of the Annan plan, within the proposed timeframe.

He concluded his press conference by saying that "a great and historic responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, and on their leaders", and calling on all the parties involved to focus on the task at hand.

Asked by journalists to say how feasible a solution by the end of February was and how the UN intended to achieve that goal, Mr. de Soto noted: "we are not starting from scratch, a lot has preceded this". "If the two sides respect the overall balance and are focused on the approach that they take in any changes that they might feel necessary to make and are ready to give as well as take, then it should be possible", he added.

In reply to another question, he agreed with Mr. Denktash's statement that if no solution was found by 28 February it would not mean the end of the world, but he stressed that it was important for the two sides to decide on a solution before the signing of the Treaty of Accession of Cyprus with the EU, so that a reunited Cyprus could sign a revised treaty. He added that the realistic prospects of a settlement after that date would be diminished dramatically.

Invited to describe the time period until 28 February, Mr. de Soto said it was "a decisive period", noting that he was very pleased that "the possibility remains open because of the willingness of both sides to continue to negotiate on the basis of the Secretary-General's plan".

After the press conference, Mr. Alvaro de Soto had a meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

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