Secretary general's and his special advisor's Press Conference on Cyprus
February 13, 2004
General: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen – or good evening to those of
you watching in
I believe it is a very good evening for
have not yet solved the problem, but I really believe that, after forty years, a
political settlement is at last in reach, provided both sides summon the
necessary political will.
a moment, I will read you a statement which has been agreed with both parties,
and with the governments of
first let me congratulate both leaders – Mr. Papadopoulos and Mr. Denktash –
on the courage and political will they have both shown in the last three days,
which has allowed me to take the decision to resume negotiations next week. And
let me also thank the governments of
lot of hard work is still needed, and there are still tough questions ahead. But
if all concerned show the same courage and goodwill during the next three months
that they have shown in the last three days, I believe there is now a real
chance that, before the first of May,
let me read the statement.
resumed on 10 February at United Nations Headquarters in
three days of meetings and consultations, I am pleased to announce that the
parties have committed to negotiating in good faith on the basis of my plan to
achieve a comprehensive settlement of the
this end, the parties will seek to agree on changes and to complete the plan in
all respects by
the absence of such agreement, I would convene a meeting of the two sides –
with the participation of
a final resort, in the event of a continuing and persistent deadlock, the
parties have invited me to use my discretion to finalize the text to be
submitted to referenda on the basis of my plan.
addition, the parties have agreed on the other suggestions contained in my
guarantor powers have signified their commitment to this process and to meeting
their obligations under it.
welcome these commitments as well as the assurances of the European Union to
accommodate a settlement and the offer of technical assistance by the European
Commission. I look forward to drawing on this assistance as well as that of
others in the course of the negotiations.
talks will re-convene in
commend the constructive spirit and political will displayed by both parties, as
well as by
concerned now face historic responsibilities to bring about a just and lasting
Teºekkürler! Thank you very much!
In the past, a role for the European Union has been one of the sticking points.
I see it is in your final text here today – or in your statement, I should
say. Can you spell out what the European Union's role will be exactly? You talk
about accommodating a settlement. It sounds rather vague. How important is their
role? How much will they be involved?
I think as we move forward – as I have indicated – there is lots of work to
be done on laws, on constitutions and on economic and financial aspects, where
the EU will have to work with us, to ensure that whatever we do is in conformity
with their own requirements. So, in moving forward, we expect to work with them.
And we have been working with them, even though they have not been in the room
as we negotiate. In the technical and other aspects, they have been fully
involved, and the parties have welcomed that.
Following up Tony's question: I was surprised to see that the European Union and
the European Commission are going to accommodate a settlement and that then they
are going to provide assistance towards these efforts. The problem is between
two communities, and the two mother countries,
Let us take the problem in manageable chunks. First, you have to have the
negotiations with the parties to get to a settlement. The political process and
the political negotiations are basically between the two parties – the Turkish
Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots – with my representative. Then, when you get
into a deadlock, to help us break the deadlock, I will bring in
European Union is not involved at this key negotiation stage. They come in in
some of the technical aspects that we will have. After all, they are joining the
European Union. They will be putting in economic assistance and financial
assistance. The plan and its implementation will have an economic and financial
impact, which they will also have to deal with. Of course, when I leave, Alvaro
see the European Union role in the technical sense, in the implementation. And
when they say they would accommodate a plan, let's not forget that the train has
been moving along. The Greek Cypriots can enter the EU on the first of May.
Hopefully, we will have a united
Last night at about
, you left and went home,
and all of us thought there had been a collapse. Just tell us your thoughts at
this moment and some of your actions or Mr.
Obviously, I am very pleased that we are where we are, and I hope the parties
are also going home satisfied and pleased. I hope the people of
when I left at
, we had a text that the
parties were looking at; and they all had rooms on the thirty-third floor. The
four delegations had a room each, and Alvaro was shuttling between them to see
if they would agree to the proposal I had put to them. And they worked rather
late - I think some of them had only about two hours of sleep. But they are much
younger than I am, and they can take it. But, in the end, we did get the
agreement, and we met at 10.30 this morning, and everybody signed up on it. So
we are very pleased. But, of course, other interested parties from around the
world also encouraged them to really not miss this opportunity, so we had lots
of support from around the world, too. So there is lots of goodwill for the
This is Alvaro
what is perhaps not widely known is that, during the negotiations - particularly
in the technical committees that were considering the laws that would be in
force upon entry into force of the comprehensive settlement - we actually had
the European Commission assisting us. And this was, of course, with the full
knowledge of the parties. It is fully our intention not only to continue that
collaboration, but to beef it up. Actually, the Secretary-General has asked me
to stop in
In your statement, you said that, “As a final resort in the event of
continuing and persistent deadlock, the parties have invited the
Secretary-General to use his discretion to finalize the text to be submitted to
referenda on the basis of his plan”. Does that mean the Secretary-General has
the final word on the deadlock?
Can we say that the
Can a settlement be avoided one way or another?
It is the same plan, and I was wondering what had changed to convince the two
parties to agree on it. They did not agree before; now they agree on a plan.
What changed, and what significance was there? Also, is a referendum going to
have any importance with regard to the Secretary-General's ideas or decisions or
the leaders' decisions?
In the letter of invitation, there was a point that the United Nations was
expecting an answer from
That is the second part of my question. The first part is, how did you overcome
the problem regarding assurances to the motherland?
de Soto: Well,
the Secretary-General has consistently said, starting with his report to the
Security Council of 1 April of last year, following the setback at The Hague,
that, for him to re-engage in such a process of good offices, he would have to
be persuaded that the political will existed in the parties to actually see this
through and that he had the full and unequivocal backing of Greece and Turkey.
The Secretary-General has not departed from that conviction and the
Secretary-General has now agreed to re-engage, to resume his good offices, based
on a clear demonstration of political will that satisfies the conditions that he
laid down. We feel, in other words, that with the agreement, as reflected in the
statement that the Secretary-General just read, the conditions are met for the
Secretary-General to go forward.
did also ask a question about the Secretary-General's strength as his moral
authority. He does not have actual political power in a classical sense. What we
are relying on most heavily is the self-interest of all the parties involved, as
I was saying earlier, in solving this problem on its own merits. Having said
this, the Secretary-General has many friends with whom he works carefully in
trying to help the parties see that it is in their interests to actually solve
You mentioned here, or the Secretary-General did, that, absent an agreement by
22 March, he will convene a meeting of about a week of the two sides, with the
to your second and several subsequent questions on the format, I think you will
see clearly in the paragraph that refers to this that it is first and foremost a
meeting between the parties and that there is a role also for Greece and Turkey.
Now, they will participate and they can participate fully. It would provide an
excellent opportunity for the kind of interface that has not occurred in the
past and we see it has a useful device, if it comes to that.
you asked whether it should be characterized as a four-party conference or a
five-party conference. We see it essentially as a diplomatic device at the
disposal of the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General gathers these four
directly-concerned parties – two States and the representatives of the two
sides on the island -- in order to jointly concentrate on the way out of
problems that they have not been able to solve merely at the two-party level.
You're involved in
Last night – I mean, all night, I can say – the
Yes, Sir, I was.
The question is, why didn't you include the United States Government in this
I was going to ask the same question, but, well, I'll try another way. Last
night, Mr. Weston was very active between the two sides – I mean, more than
United Nations officials. Would you like to say something about their role in
I was on the second floor and Mr. Weston was there and also –
You have been so long in this business and one aspect of that is that you don't
have to play the manipulation in this business because you have become so
expert. What is actually your prediction? Do you really have any hope? Is it
going to be peaceful or a little bit more argument?
You have a good feeling.
About the referendum: How significant is it in that process? Secondly, as a
follow-up, is it going to set an example for other conflicts around the world?
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