UN SG and Turkish Premier discuss Cyprus
United Nations, Jun 10 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he intents to bring back before the Security Council his report issued after the Cyprus referenda in April last year aiming at its endorsement.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish Premier Tayiip Erdogan, the UN SG added that next steps on the Cyprus issue would be decided after the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast briefs him on his mission to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey where he was sent to make an assessment on the current situation.
Speaking after the working lunch Erdogan expressed disappointment over the fact that an endorsement of the report is still pending, adding that the Turkish side's expectation in Cyprus ''is to have a comprehensive, long-lasting and just peace and settlement''.
According to CNA sources the Turkish Premier did not set the endorsement of the report as a condition to support a new UN initiative on Cyprus.
Annan and Erdogan said that they had good discussions on the UN reform, Cyprus and the situation in Iraq.
Responding to a question, regarding easing the socalled isolation on Turkish Cypriots, Secretary-General noted that there were proposals in the plan he put forward about easing the isolation, expressing the hope that the EU and others will find a way support the Turkish – occupied northern Cyprus, as they have indicated so.
As regards Sir Kieran's tour to the region Annan said ''he visited Cyprus – both the Greek Cypriot side and also the North, Turkish Cypriot side. Then he went on to Turkey and to Greece, and we were able to discuss the prospects for future peace in the region''.
Premier Erdogan said it was very meaningful for the Turkish side to be able to meet the UN SG after Prendergast's visit to Cyprus. ''As a guarantor country on the issue of Cyprus, we had an opportunity to evaluate the situation,'' he said.
Referring to the Cyprus issue he said there is a process, which was initiated by the Turkish side together with the Secretary-General in Davos.
''With regard to the settlement of the Cyprus issue at the time, we had said that we would always be one step ahead of the Greek Cypriots, and we have fulfilled that promise'' said Erdogan referring to the referenda in Cyprus which led to the approval of Annan's plan by the Turkish Cypriots and its rejection by the Greek Cypriots.
He said that even though the Greek Cypriots voted ''no'' they ''were accepted as an EU member. But the isolation on the other hand for the Turkish Cypriots is still ongoing''.
As regards the report prepared by Kofi Annan on May 28th last year, he expressed disappointment that it is still pending and ''the United Nations Security Council has not yet endorsed it''.
''We believe that a decision has to be reached, an endorsement has to happen, and we are looking for a positive outcome in this respect. Our expectation in Cyprus is to have a comprehensive, long-lasting and just peace and settlement'', the Turkish Prime Minister said.
Asked whether he plans to have a new initiative after meeting the Turkish Prime Minister he said he was happy Prendergast was able to go to the region.
''He has just come back and submitted his report to me, which I am going to study very carefully to decide what the next steps should be'', Kofi Annan said.
With regard to the report, the UN SG submitted last year, Annan said ''you heard the Prime Minister express his disappointment. This is an issue I will take up with the Council again when I brief them on the status of my good offices, and hope that they will take action on it''.
Responding to a question, regarding easing the so called isolation on Turkish Cypriots, Secretary-General noted that there were proposals in the plan ''I put forward about easing the isolation'', adding that ''the European Union and others indicated that they will want to give assistance and support to Northern Cyprus, and I hope they will find a way of doing that''.
He further noted that there are governments thinking of certain initiatives, underlining that ''the first hurdle will be to work with the Council on that report, and get their endorsement of the report''.
Asked if there is any change that will make him de-freeze his good offices mission Annan said his good offices have always been available. ''It was a question of the environment, the appropriateness and the readiness of the parties to engage, and engage meaningfully, so that we can make progress'', he said.
As far as what has happened during the period following the referenda, Annan noted that the Greek Cypriots are now in the European Union and that he has sent Prendergast to the region, to make an assessment and come back ''and report to me, and I will decide what the next steps should be''.
''And I couldn’t rush ahead last year, at the end of the referendum, when the Turkish Cypriots voted for it, and the Greek Cypriots voted 'no'. We needed to have a pause, and get people to reflect, and let the situation calm down and make an assessment, and this is what we have done'', the UN SG concluded.