Annan requests funds for good offices in Cyprus
by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
United Nations, Dec 9 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has appealed to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly requesting more funds for the maintenance of the work his special adviser on Cyprus and his team of experts are expected to carry out in 2004 to press on with a political settlement, if possible before Cyprus joins the European Union in May next year.
The estimated requirements relating to Alvaro de Soto, Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus, for a one-year period from 1 January to 31 December 2004, amount to 1,365,400 dollars, Annan's report to the Committee said.
These funds would provide for staffing resources at the maintenance level of four staff (439,700 dollars), services of experts to advise the Special Adviser on various topics (451,100 dollars), official travel (334,700 dollars) and other operational and logistical costs (139,900 dollars).
The report presents an historical outline of Annan's more recent efforts to help the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to reach a negotiated settlement, which began in June 1999.
The two leaders started proximity talks in December 1999, followed by direct talks in January 2002, which collapsed in March this year at The Hague.
The Secretary-General submitted a comprehensive settlement proposal in November 2002, a first revision on 10 December 2002, and a second revision on 26 February 2003. The plan required a referendum before 16 April 2003 to approve it and reunify Cyprus. At The Hague on 10 and 11 March 2003, it became clear that it would not be possible to achieve agreement to conduct such a referendum, the report said.
The Security Council stressed its full support for the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and requested the Secretary-General to continue to make available his good offices for Cyprus as outlined in his report.
''It is anticipated that the role of the good offices of the Secretary-General with regard to Cyprus will continue during 2004,'' it added.
Alvaro de Soto, now dealing with Western Sahara, and his team of experts are no longer on the island to facilitate peace talks. However, it is understood that they would be willing to return, should negotiations begin sometime in the not too distant future.