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Alvaro de Soto:framework of final solution not ready
2002-07-03 08:01:55

Larnaca, Jul 3 (CNA) -- The top UN envoy on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has said the framework of the final solution of the Cyprus question is not ready and expressed disappointment that it has not been possible to crack the core issues (governance, security, territory and property) which the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot sides are discussing at the ongoing direct talks.

Speaking on his departure this morning for Vienna, to brief the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan about the course of the negotiations the UN have been conducting for the past six months, Alvaro de Soto said the two parties must "enhance and redouble" their role and called on them to show "more political will and an increased spirit of compromise".

He also said he has some ideas about what should be done in the coming months, which he will discuss with Annan at their meeting this evening in Vienna.

The fourth round of direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was concluded on Tuesday. De Soto said he will be back in Cyprus for separate meetings with the two leaders on July 15, before the start of the fifth round on the following day.

Asked if the framework for the final solution of the Cyprus question is ready, he replied "No, the framework of the final solution is not ready. We had hoped that by the end of June there would be a basic sense of the main points, the core issues and we felt that this would have greatly facilitated the legal drafting that remains."|

Expressing his disappointment, he recalled a statement by the Secretary General during his May visit to Cyprus that it was possible to "break the core issues" by the end of June, but political will and a spirit of compromise were required.

"Obviously more of that is going to be needed in the coming period if the opportunity that is available here is going to be seized," de Soto told reporters at Larnaca airport.

"I am going to meet the Secretary General tonight. I will report to him and I expect to receive his guidance as to how to proceed when we resume work in mid July, after I brief the Security Council," he said.

The UN envoy said work will continue in July, "to see whether it is possible to compensate for the work that has not yet been accomplished."

Asked if he intends to get involved in the discussions himself, he told journalists that he is "actually involved", noting that he frequently meets with Clerides and Denktash between meetings and he makes the contribution he feels is appropriate at the talks.

"We will make a judgment as we go along as to what is needed," he added.

Asked whether the framework within which the talks are taking place is going to change, de Soto said the role of the UN is "to assist the parties reaching a settlement."

"I am here and I will be coming back soon in the exercise of the Secretary General's good offices. That's an ample term that allows plenty of flexibility to what role we ourselves play. But what is most important is the role that the negotiating parties play and that is the role that needs to be enhanced and redoubled," he added.

Asked if he is going to present proposals to the parties when he gets back, he said he would not say now what he is going to do.

"What I would like to do is talk to the Secretary General, discuss with him what we can do to encourage the process once it resumes," he said, adding that he has "some ideas" that he will discuss with Kofi Annan.

Asked if he believed it was wise to continue the talks, since they appear to have produced no result so far, he said "I think it is absolutely necessary to go on with the talks and indeed to intensify them".

Invited to name the side that displays no political will to find a negotiated settlement, de Soto said he would refrain from pointing a finger at anybody and that he would discuss the matter with the Secretary General and the UN Security Council.

De Soto leaves Vienna tomorrow for New York, where on July 9 he is scheduled to brief the Security Council on the course of the Cyprus talks, which began in mid January, under UN auspices, with a view at finding a comprehensive settlement.

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