NICOSIA.- (CNA) — The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Saturday he respected the outcome of the two referenda in Cyprus and noted that a unique and historic chance to resolve the Cyprus problem had been missed. In a statement, attributable to his spokesman, Annan said he intended to study carefully the implications of today’s result which meant that the Foundation Agreement on a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus would not enter into force.
Alvaro de Soto said he would be paying farewell calls at the beginning of the week on his several interlocutors and then he would return to New York to report to the Secretary General. The UN office set up on the island would be closing down in the coming weeks.
”My team and I have greatly enjoyed working with Cypriots and we are grateful for the support we received from so many of them and their leaders as well,” he added.
He explained that the UN did not have a mandate to observe either the referendum itself or the run up to it and acknowledged that the time available before the referendum was considerably less than would have been desirable.
”That was not the fault of the Greek Cypriot people, I am not saying whose fault it was,” he said.
Annan expressed hope in his statement that ways would be found to ease the plight of the Turkish Cypriots and stressed that he remained convinced that his proposal was fair, viable and a carefully balanced compromise. He expressed hope that the Greek Cypriots would make second thoughts about the proposed solution and said he would report to the Security Council.
Annan’s special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who conducted the lengthy talks between the island’s two communities for years, said there were no plans to renegotiate the plan as it stood at the moment and said he and his team would be leaving the island this week.
Alvaro de Soto apologized for having given the impression in earlier statements that he was insensitive to the plight of Greek Cypriot refugees.
Speaking at a press conference, de Soto said the Secretary-General noted the outcome of the separate simultaneous referenda on the settlement plan finalized on 31 March 2004.
Since the plan was approved in the Turkish Cypriot referendum but not in the Greek Cypriot referendum, the Foundation Agreement would not enter into force, he said.
”The Secretary-General respects the outcome of the two referenda. He knows that for many Cypriots the decision how to vote was a difficult one. The goal of the effort over the last four and a half years has been to bring about reunification so as to enable a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union. That goal has not been achieved. A unique and historic chance to resolve the Cyprus problem has been missed,” the top UN envoy added.
The Secretary-General, he went on to say, intended to give careful thought to the implications of the result. Meanwhile, Cyprus will remain divided and militarized as it accedes to the European Union, and the benefits of a settlement will not be realized.
The UN senior diplomat said the Secretary-General remained convinced that the settlement plan put to the two sides in the referenda represented a fair, viable and carefully balanced compromise — one that conforms with the long-agreed parameters for a solution, and with the Security Council’s vision for a settlement and met the minimum requirements of all concerned.
The Secretary-General will report to the Security Council in due course and the Council may wish to evaluate the outcome and its implications.
Replying to questions, De Soto said there were no plans to renegotiate the plan as it stood at the moment. He said he was very pleased that the people of Cyprus had at last had the opportunity to exercise judgment on the proposed plan.