UN PRESS RELEASE CONCERNING ALAVRO DE SOTO'S BRIEFING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
failure to reach a solution of the
10 and 11 March, talks between parties in
the Council on the Secretary-General’s report on efforts made between late
1999 and 11 March 2003 to assist the two sides in achieving a settlement, Mr. De
Soto said the Cyprus problem was the oldest item continually on the
Secretary-General’s peacemaking agenda. It was difficult to see a set of
circumstances for achieving a settlement as propitious as that which had
prevailed in the last three and a half years. The Secretary-General had
been deeply involved in the effort, with the strong support of the Council.
A fair and honourable package, comprehensive in approach and only needing
technical finalization, had been on the table.
he continued, when decisions had to be made, the crisis in
United Nations plan represented the Organization’s best effort to generate a
balanced and truly comprehensive proposal which resolved all issues, left little
to be negotiated and represented a fair and honourable settlement
which met the core interests and aspirations of both sides. To
reopen its basic principles or key trade-offs, would be to put the entire
enterprise at peril.
the coming period, after the signature of the European Union accession treaty on
16 April through the entry into force of that treaty on 1 May 2004, and in the
run-up to the European Council of December 2004, in which a decision is to be
taken on accession talks with Turkey, the overwhelming need was for the parties
to hew closely to the plan, according to Mr. De Soto.
was why the suggestion of Rauf Denktash, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, in
point had been reached where the leaders on each side should accept that the
plan couldn’t be significantly improved by further negotiation and that they
should be prepared to finalize it. “Without that honest intellectual
realization on the part of both sides, and without the leaders being prepared to
explain that to their people, it was difficult to see a settlement being
achieved”, he said.
to the future, he said that the Secretary-General did not intend to take a new
initiative, unless and until he had solid reason to believe that the political
will existed, which was needed for a successful outcome. That would come
about if there was an unequivocally stated preparedness on behalf of the leaders
on both sides, fully and determinedly backed at the highest political level in
both motherlands, to commit to finalizing the plan without reopening its basic
principles or key trade-offs by a specific date, with United Nations assistance.
said that since the events described in the report, Mr. Denktash had written to
Mr. Papadopoulos proposing a meeting to discuss a range of confidence-building
measures. Mr. Denktash was motivated to do that, according to his letter,
to address the deep crisis of confidence, which he believed existed between the
two sides, and which, in his view, was a major cause of the stalemate at
response, Mr. Denktash had reiterated his conviction that a crisis of confidence
had obstructed his efforts and that his confidence-building proposals remained
on the table. He also reaffirmed that he continued to support the good
offices mission of the Secretary-General. On that, he and Mr. Papadopoulos
appeared to be in agreement. However, without accepting the
Secretary-General’s (page 1b follows)
plan as the basis for further negotiations, Mr. Denktash also proposed
that the leaders should discuss the amendments they wanted to present and, if
agreed, put the plan to referendum. So far, Mr. Papadopoulos had not
responded to his letter, Mr. De Soto said.
conclusion, he said that the criteria contained in the Secretary-General’s
report would guide the Secretary-General in his good offices in the future.
meeting, which started at
, was adjourned at
, after which the Council went into closed consultations on the issue.
the Security Council met, it had before it the Secretary-General’s report on
his mission of good offices in
The oldest item continuously on the Secretary-General’s peacemaking
agenda, the Cyprus problem has been before the Security Council for close to 40
years. Given the intractability and the variable geometry of the issues,
it is not far-fetched to describe it as a diplomatic “Rubik’s cube”, the
Secretary-General states. After Cyprus became independent on 16 August
1960, accumulated tension between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot
communities resulted in the outbreak of violence on the island in December 1963.
The United Nations has maintained a peacemaking presence on the island since
1964, when the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was set up
to prevent further fighting between the two sides. Currently, the UNFICYP
remains on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain buffer zones, and
undertake humanitarian activities.
to the report, in 1999, a unique set of circumstances was emerging, which could
make a true impact on the attitudes of the protagonists and bring about the
required qualitative changes of position. Among the new developments, was
the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 1250 (1999), which provided a
clear and realistic framework for negotiation; the evolving Greek-Turkish
rapprochement; and the European Council decision in December 1999 at Helsinki
that opened the door to Turkey’s candidature for accession, as well as the
prospect for the enlargement of the European Union by up to 10 new members,
the Secretary-General’s invitation, proximity talks between the parties were
held from December 1999 to November 2000, and direct talks from January 2002 to
February 2003. During the process, the parties were not able to reach
agreement without third-party assistance. Accordingly, the
Secretary-General submitted a comprehensive settlement proposal on
the United Nations efforts in
considerable efforts described in the report, Mr. Denktash, at
to the report, Mr. Denktash has been very consistent over the decades in his
views on the substance of the
for the Greek Cypriot side, Mr. Clerides, in November 1999, had accepted an
invitation to start proximity talks with considerable hesitation, because he
felt constrained by the terms in which it was couched at the insistence of
Mr. Clerides was also reluctant to engage in the somewhat hypothetical exercises
that the proximity format entailed. In the direct talks, however, Mr.
Clerides sought to find ways to address the interests and concerns of the
Turkish Cypriot side if, in exchange, the Turkish Cypriot side would satisfy the
basic aims of the Greek Cypriots.
Secretary-General concludes that one of the obstacles to solving the
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