WASHINGTON D.C.- A White House statement issued April 1 says the United States welcomes finalization of the comprehensive settlement plan for Cyprus presented by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and will support the plan’s “full implementation.”
The statement also calls on “all friends of Cyprus in the international community” to join the United States in actively participating in the upcoming pre-donors’ conference being organized by the European Commission.
Following is the text:
“We welcome the finalization of the comprehensive settlement plan of the Cyprus problem that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented in Switzerland. This historic settlement culminates decades of negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, as well as Greece and Turkey. It clears the way for all Cypriots to cement their future in Europe, as a united Cyprus enters the EU on May 1.
Greek and Turkish Cypriots now control their destiny as they prepare to vote on the settlement plan in referenda on April 24. We share Secretary-General Annan’s assessment that the final settlement is a fair and balanced compromise that addresses the primary concerns of the parties, and which yielded clear improvements as the plan was finalized.
The United States will support full implementation of this settlement. We will participate in a pre-donors conference in coming weeks being organized by the European Commission. We call on all friends of Cyprus in the international community to join us in actively participating in that conference.
We commend the outstanding leadership on this issue of U.N. Secretary-General Annan, as well as the exceptional efforts of his Special Advisor Alvaro De Soto and the U.N.’s entire Cyprus team. We also salute the constructive efforts of Greece, Turkey, and of course, the Cypriot leaders.
The US’s strong support of the final plan by UN secretary general Kofi Annan for a Cyprus settlement was reiterated Thursday by US state department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli, who added that it was now ”up to the voters in Cyprus to decide on their future” when the plan was put to simultaneous referenda to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on April 24.
Questioned on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders’ refusal to sign the Annan plan on-the-spot in the Swiss town of Buergenstock, where Annan-led negotiations failed to reach an agreed solution to the decades-long Cyprus problem, Ereli, nonetheless, insisted several times that ”the parties have agreed to accept the plan”.
Following a deluge of observations by press correspondents that the two sides had not accepted the plan, Ereli explained that ”the parties to this process have agreed to accept this plan for referenda, for the people of Cyprus…And that is what the people of Cyprus are going to vote on on April 24th”.
The US, he said ”will be working with the Secretary General and others to encourage support for this plan, but obviously it’s up to the people of Cyprus”. To another question, Ereli replied that ”we will continue to make it clear to the leaders of the Greek and Cypriot — the Greek and Turkish community of Cyprus our firm belief that this plan is in their best interests”.
Asked what the US intended to do now, Ereli said: ”I really can’t give you a concrete list of items that we are going to start doing between now and April 24th to see that this is passed. This is a referendum that the people are going to decide. We’re going to continue our efforts with the parties, through Ambassador Weston, through the Secretary.”