15 April 2003

Security Council Regrets Failure to Reach Agreement on Settlement Plan for Cyprus, Citing "Negative Approach" of Turkish Cypriot Leaders

Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1475 (2003); Says Secretary-General's Plan 'Carefully Balanced', Provides 'Unique Basis' for Further Negotiations

NEW YORK, 14 April (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this afternoon expressed regret that, due to the "negative approach" of the Turkish Cypriot leader, it had not been possible to put the Secretary-General's settlement plan to simultaneous referenda by Turkish and Greek Cypriots and, as a result, there would be no comprehensive agreement on reunification of the island before 16 April -- the date that Cyprus's accession treaty to the European Union is to be signed.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1475 (2003), the Council gave its full support to the Secretary-General's "carefully balanced plan" of 26 February as a unique basis for further negotiations, and called on all concerned to negotiate within the framework of the Secretary-General's Good Offices, using the plan to reach a comprehensive settlement as set forth in the Secretary-General's Report (S/2003/398). The Council asked the Secretary-General to continue to make available his Good Offices for Cyprus.

According to that report, the Secretary-General does not propose to take a new initiative, unless and until such time as he is given solid reason to believe that the political will exists necessary for a successful outcome. A solution on the basis of the plan could be achieved only if there was an unequivocally stated preparedness on the part of the leaders of both sides, fully and determinedly backed at the highest political level in both motherlands, to commit themselves to finalize the plan -- without reopening its basic principles or essential trade-offs -- by a specific date with United Nations assistance, and to put it to separate simultaneous referenda on a date soon thereafter.

Speaking after the vote, the representative of the Russian Federation said that his country had been consistently advocating a just settlement of the Cyprus problem, which should be resolved through the establishment of a single bi-communal, bi-zonal federal State, ensuring full political equality of all the communities inhabiting the island, as envisioned under relevant Council resolutions, including 1250. As both parties had expressed concern regarding particular elements of the plan, he believed that certain corrections could be introduced, which would help to arrive at compromise solutions. Based on such an approach, his delegation had supported today's resolution.

On 11 November 2002, the Secretary-General had submitted a comprehensive settlement for the Cyprus problem to the parties involved -- revised twice, most recently on 26 February 2003 -- requiring the referenda before 16 April.

According to Alvaro de Soto, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, who briefed the Council on 10 April (see Press Release SC/7723), talks on the settlement plan between parties at The Hague, the Netherlands, on 10 and 11 March broke down. While those negotiations continued, Tassos Papadopoulos, President of Cyprus, had been prepared not to reopen substantive parts of the plan, but Rauf Denktash, leader of the Turkish Cypriots, had suggested reverting to an open-ended "discussion of principles".

The meeting started at 12:35 p.m. and was adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

The full text of resolution 1475 (2003) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Reaffirming all its resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1250 (1999) of 29 June 1999 aimed at achieving agreement on a comprehensive Cyprus settlement,

"Reiterating its strong interest in achieving an overall political settlement on Cyprus which takes full consideration of relevant Security Council resolutions and treaties,

"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 1 April 2003 (S/2003/398) on his mission of good offices in Cyprus,

"1. Commends the extraordinary effort made by the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser and his team since 1999 in pursuance of his Good Offices mission and within the framework of Security Council resolution 1250 (1999);

"2. Further commends the Secretary-General for taking the initiative to present to the parties a comprehensive settlement plan aimed at bridging the gaps between them, drawing upon the talks that began in December 1999 under United Nations auspices and, following negotiations, to revise that plan on 10 December 2002 and 26 February 2003;

"3. Regrets that, as described in the Secretary-General's report, due to the negative approach of the Turkish Cypriot leader, culminating in the position taken at the 10-11 March 2003 meeting in The Hague, it was not possible to reach agreement to put the plan to simultaneous referenda as suggested by the Secretary-General, and thus that the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots have been denied the opportunity to decide for themselves on a plan that would have permitted the reunification of Cyprus and as a consequence it will not be possible to achieve a comprehensive settlement before 16 April 2003;

"4. Gives its full support to the Secretary-General's carefully balanced plan of 26 February 2003 as a unique basis for further negotiations, and calls on all concerned to negotiate within the framework of the Secretary-General's Good Offices, using the plan to reach a comprehensive settlement as set forth in paragraphs 144-151 of the Secretary-General's report;

"5. Stresses its full support for the Secretary-General's mission of Good Offices as entrusted to him in resolution 1250 (1999) and asks the Secretary-General to continue to make available his Good Offices for Cyprus as outlined in his report;

"6. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."

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