United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast has concluded his Cyprus mission and he is returning to New York to report back to the Secretary General on the prospects of launching a new initiative. UN sources although were satisfied by the talks in Nicosia and Athens, they were very cautious on predicting any results, pending the important meetings of Prendergast in Ankara.
Deputy UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said last week that Sir Kieran Prendergast now has a better understanding of the situation in Cyprus, having concluded his meetings on the island.
Commenting on Prendergast’s regional tour, he said the senior UN official, in his remarks to the press before leaving, pointed out that the solution must come from the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides.
A UN source told Greek News that Sir Kieran had pointed out to the Turkish Cypriot leadership that having said YES in last year’s referendum, is not enough, and there is a need for moves by all sides, in order for a new UN initiative to start.
UN Secretary Genrral Kofi Annan will have a chance to discuss Cyprus, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over a private lunch, on Thursday June 9, at the UN Headquarters. A day earlier, Mr Erdogan will hold talks in Washington, with President George Bush. Speaking on Saturday to the Press, Erdogan said he is determined to end the sanctions imposed on the Northern Cyprus.
His “basic demand” from the US President will be removal of all sanctions, Erdogan said on Friday. “It should end. I will ask this of the US President. This will be my basic request.”
Before Erdogan’s Washington visit, top Turkish and Cypriot Turkish officials convened in Ankara and developed a strategy for how to lift the sanctions on the island Turks.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said the meeting was very fruitful. “We had to hold this meeting in order not to allow any differences between the policies of the “TRNC” and Turkey on Cyprus.”
On Monday, Kofi Annan is expected to submit a report on UNFICYP, to the Security Council. The council is expected to adopt a resolution on June 13, renewing UNFICYP’s mandate for another 6 months.
The only way to have a solution to the Cyprus problem is to find a formula and a package of proposals that can be accepted by both sides and that is the objective, UN Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast said in Athens, here after a meeting with Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Molyviatis, Deputy Minister Yiannis Valinakis and General Secretary George Yennimatas.
Sir Kieran reiterated that the aim of his tour to Nicosia, Athens and Ankara is to get the feel and the pulse, adding that ”the pulse is beating.”
”This is part of an exercise of going and talking to all the parties to get a better idea of where they stand,” the UN diplomat said, adding that ”Greece is extremely supportive of the process.”
Invited to say if it was time to scrap the solution plan that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed to the sides, since the Greek Cypriot community rejected it, Sir Kieran said, ”I am not going to respond to that. All I want to say is that I am going round to get the feel, I call it taking the pulse, and the pulse is beating.”
Asked of the Greek Cypriots’ concerns can be addressed in new talks, the UN diplomat replied, ”I think everyone agrees that there has to be a solution to the Cyprus problem and the only way to have a solution to the Cyprus problem is to find a formula and a package of proposals that can be accepted by both sides and that is our objective.”
Invited to say who will take over when he leaves the UN in June, Sir Kieran said that this was in the hands of God.
Meanwhile, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has dismissed as ”imaginary” Turkish press reports suggesting that he had put forward such proposals for the resumption of negotiations that led the Turkish Cypriot leader to reject them. He called on Mehmet Ali Talat to clarify whether he wants a solution through acceptance of a UN proposed plan (the Annan plan) which the Greek Cypriots rejected in their overwhelming majority in a referendum last year.
Papadopoulos is said to have suggested, among other ideas, the complete demilitarisation of Cyprus, the abolition of the right of guarantee, currently held by Turkey, Greece and Britain, the return to Turkey of all but 30,000 Turkish settlers and the abolition of Turkey’s right to intervene in Cyprus.
On his meetings with the UN official, Papadopoulos said Prendergast is trying to create a framework for the resumption of talks and added that the content of the discussions are confidential.