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Kofi Annan expresses regret over failure to reach Cyprus settlement
2003-09-16 18:43:51

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis

United Nations, Sep 16 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed regret that the Cyprus problem despite his intensive exercise of his good offices, remains unresolved.

However, he stresses that he would resume active efforts to resolve this longstanding problem provided that the parties concerned would demonstarte their commitlement to a settlement based on his peace plan.

The UN chief notes that a settlement before the entry into force of the Treaty of Accession to the European Union ? on 1 May 2004 ? would still allow a reunited Cyprus to accede to the European Union.

Annan's Cyprus reference is included in his annual report to the UN General Assembly on the work of the United Nations, released Monday at UN Headquarters. Chapter I of the report entitled "Achieving peace and security" that deals with conflict prevention and peacemaking in many regional problems includes, among others, a paragraph on Cyprus.

The Secertary General says in his report that he does not believe "that any purpose would be served by taking a new initiative unless the parties demonstrate their commitment to a settlement on the basis of the plan. Should such a commitment be forthcoming, I shall resume active efforts to resolve this longstanding dispute."

In the meantime, he adds, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus continues to monitor the buffer zone across the island.

The UN Chief expresses regret that the Cyprus problem despite his intensive exercise of his good offices remains unresolved and he emphasises that "the lifting of travel restrictions between the north and south of the island in recent months, while welcome, is no substitute for a comprehensive settlement of the core issues."

Commenting on the failure of the UN-sponsored Cyprus talks at The Hague in March of 2003, he says that a unique opportunity to achieve a settlement was squandered ? a settlement which would have allowed a reunited Cyprus to sign the Treaty of Accession to the European Union on 16 April 2003.

He explains that he submitted in November 2002 a draft comprehensive settlement to the two Cypriot leaders as time was running out before the Treaty?s signature, and with hopes renewed by the election in November 2002 of a government of Turkey that seemed genuinely disposed to resolving the question.

"Despite their agreeing to negotiate on the basis of that plan, the negotiations failed to result in an agreement and in April 2003 I closed the office of my Special Adviser," he adds.

Annan's intensive efforts failed to reach a Cyprus settlenment after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's refusal to put to a referendum the UN chief's peace plan.

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