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Former UN envoy: federal solution probably the only viable one
2005-03-04 15:17:14

Nicosia, Mar 4 (CNA) -- Alvaro de Soto, former UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus, believes that a federal solution is not only good for Cyprus but probably the only viable and sustainable way to reunify the island.

In his address to the third international conference on federalism, he also said that by and large he agrees with the requirements Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos had outlined in his speech for a federal solution, even though he has some misgivings.

Alvaro de Soto was critical of the Greek Cypriots who overwhelmingly rejected a UN-proposed comprehensive settlement but paid tribute to the Turkish Cypriots who had approved it.

He said that it was ''irrelevant'' whether or not Greek Cypriot feelings that the Turkish side had been ''unduly rewarded after decades of blocking a settlement'' through the plan and that concerns about implementation issues ''were actually grounded.''

De Soto suggested that the Greek Cypriots, as they were edging closer to European Union accession, were unwilling to embrace the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots and share power with them.

He said his main difference with what Papadopoulos had said concerned whether the UN settlement plan met the requirements that President Papadopoulos referred to.

Papadopoulos points out that the plan did not provide for a unified fiscal and monetary policy nor did it promote an integrated economy, assured of freedom of movement of capital and goods.

Alvaro de Soto said that the plan had been thoroughly discussed with the parties (Greek and Turkish Cypriot) and claimed that both had accepted to blur or at least not to explicitly stipulate whether the post-settlement Cyprus was a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus or something else.

He noted that the UN did not like the use of the supreme court as a deadlock-breaking mechanism but ''no-one could come up with a better one.''

Concluding, he said he hoped that the idea of reaching out to one's former enemy in a spirit of tolerance and reconciliation would one day take root in Cyprus.

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