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Secretary General: final push for Cyprus settlement
2004-03-29 11:34:25

Burgenstock, Mar 29 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has asked the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides to give him their reaction no later than tomorrow morning on a revised proposed comprehensive settlement, he has presented them.

He also said the UN would evaluate these reactions, adjust the draft text and finalise the lengthy proposal by March 31, and stressed that this opportunity for a settlement could not be allowed to pass.

Addressing the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Annan told them that the plan was significantly improved in meeting their core concerns.

The Secretary General said he believed that the proposed text is better than a previous draft, the package of improvements met the parties' concerns, reassured the people of Cyprus and respected each other's interests.

Kofi Annan said the plan is an overall compromise and dismissed remarks that the UN and others are trying to impose a settlement on the Cypriots.

''You are here to give a final push to the effort to solve the Cyprus problem, once and for all, on the basis of the plan I put forward on 26 Fenriuary 2003,'' he said in his opening statement at the meeting with the delegation of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot, Greece and Turkey in Burgenstock.

Welcoming all delegations to the meeting, he said ''the entrenched positions of decades have already begun to give way. I only wish that we had been able to bring this about earlier, but now that we still have this opportunity, we cannot let it pass.''

Annan said the proposed comprehensive settlement represented a considered attempt to incorporate into the plan previous plan as many as possible of the improvements sought by the parties, without upsetting its overall balance.

''We have tried to be helpful to each side in a manner compatible with the interests of the other. Inevitably it has not been possible to accommodate all proposals for amendment. The result, as it must be, is an overall compromise,'' Annan said.

He asked the leaders to give him their ''formed reactions no later than tomorrow morning.''

''We will evaluate those reactions and see whether further adjustments are necessary to finalise the text, in contact with all of you, by Wednesday 31 March,'' he added.

The Secretary General referred to the contents of the draft and pointed out that the leaders also have before them a part of the Foundation Agreement which he described as ''unprecedented in the history of the UN peacekeeping.''

''These documents are the best possible rebuttal of claims that the UN and other 'foreign powers' are trying to impose a settlement on the Cypriots. They are the result of the Herculean efforts of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, working intensely and in unison for the reunification of their country. I salute them,'' Annan said.

Annan also paid tribute to experts from various governments and organisations.

Addressing himself to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, he said the revised plan ''is significantly improved on this score, particularly in relation to the workings of the federal government, the updated transitional arrangements, the changes to the property scheme, the adjustments to ensure the financial soundness of the plan, and of course the completed laws and treaties.''

Concerns relating to territory and troop reductions were also guaranteed.

Turning to the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community, Annan said the text had significantly improved on the preservation of the security and the identity of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state and the safety and dignity of its people as well as the provisions of property, residency and voting for the federal senate.

He also told Turkish Cypriot representatives that the plan met their concerns on relocation, securing legally the protections for the Turkish Cypriots and on the maintainance of a moderate military presence even after her accession to the European Union.

''I believe this is a win-win proposal,'' he told them, and invited the two sides to ask themselves if the draft text before them met their core interests.

Concluding his remarks, he said he believed his proposal was better than the one on the basis of which the parties agreed to negotiate, the package of improvements met their core concerns, it assured the people and gave them the courage to seize the change of peace and it respected the other's core interests.

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