UNITED NATIONS.- by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
The UN Security Council was briefed on Friday on developments in the Cyprus problem by the UN chief’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto. After the briefing, the Council refrained from taking a stance on the solution plan presented to the sides in Cyprus by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which will be put to separate referenda on April 24.
Security Council President Gunter Pleuger read a statement after the meeting, saying that the Council members ”thanked the Secretary General and Mr. de Soto for their efforts and their commitment to finding a solution to the Cyprus question,” noting that ”it is now for the Cypriots to decide their future at this important juncture.”
UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast and Pakistan requested a stronger statement but Russia and China deemed the draft statement prepared by Britain was sufficient.
The possibility of requesting further actions from the Security Council remains open. Annan will be submitting a report to the Security Council and will make suggestions on the Council’s action over the next few weeks.
Addressing the Security Council, de Soto elaborated on recent developments, especially the UN-led talks in Burgenstock, Switzerland, between the Greek Cypriot side, the Turkish Cypriot side, Greece and Turkey, which led to the presentation of Annan’s final solution plan to the parties.
De Soto said the plan was the product of negotiations and respected international law and human rights.
”Obviously, it is now up to the Cypriots to decide and I think that the members of the Security Council are very conscious of the need to let them do so and they have weeks ahead in which to familiarize themselves and to receive whatever guidance and explanation from their leadership above all,” he said.
He noted that the result was a bizonal, bicommunal, federal system, a Cypriot state with a single legal identity, sovereignty and citizenship. It is based on the political equality between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, de Soto added.
The Peruvian diplomat said the plan could not be but a compromise that would not meet all the demands of either side. However, he said Annan hoped the people in Cyprus would agree it was just and balanced.
De Soto said he would be flying to Cyprus over the weekend because there was a lot of work to do in order to meet the deadlines before the referenda take place later this month.|
The UN Security Council is to hold an open discussion on Cyprus on April 28, four days after the separate referenda among the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island on the comprehensive settlement plan presented by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on March 31 in Burgenstock, Switzerland.
The open discussion on Cyprus was announced yesterday evening by the President of the Security Council for April, permanent representative of Germany Guenther Pleuger, after the Council was briefed by Alvaro de Soto, the Special Adviser of the Secretary General on Cyprus, on the final phase of negotiations in Burgenstock between the two communities.
Ambassador Pleuger said the open discussion would focus on the outcome of the referenda of April 24 and their bearing on the future of Cyprus.