|Monday, 21 June 2021|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-12-03
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 UNSG UNFICYP CYPRUS PROBLEMLack of political will constitutes an important obstacle to progress in the Cyprus question and all parties need to show greater flexibility and greater political courage, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said in his report to the UN Security Council on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, urging both parties on the island to put an end to mutual recriminations.
In his report, covering developments from 26 May to 15 November 2007, Ban expressed the belief that the upcoming year may prove to be crucial in the search for a comprehensive settlement, and stressed that only the required political will which translates into concrete actions would provide an opportunity for progress and possible new initiatives.
Furthermore he expressed regret that the ongoing debate on the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots has become one about recognition, noting that the maintenance of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties or contacts does not amount to recognition but on the contrary, it will benefit all Cypriots by building trust, creating a more even playing field and thus greatly contributing to the reunification of the island.
Ban said that over the last six months, there has been no progress on the implementation of the 8 July 2006 agreement, although both parties continue to publicly support the principles contained therein, namely that a comprehensive settlement will be based on a bi-zonal bi-communal federation and political equality.
The broad outline of a solution is well known and will be based on the considerable body of work and basic agreements over established parameters already worked on over the past decades, from which either side may, indeed should, draw on in the search for a future settlement, he said adding that the 8 July agreement, and subsequent agreed procedural clarifications, aims to facilitate direct talks, not to block them.
Given these realities, it is difficult not to conclude that an important obstacle to progress is currently a lack of political will to fully engage. All parties need to show greater flexibility and greater political courage. In this context, it is disappointing that the meeting between the leaders on 5 September did not produce concrete results, and was a lost opportunity for all Cypriots, Ban noted.
He welcomed a number of proposals made by both leaders containing confidence-building measures, noting that their early implementation would greatly contribute to an improvement in the atmosphere on the island. In this connection, I would also urge both parties to put an end to mutual recriminations, as agreed between the two leaders on 8 July 2006, so as to ensure that the right atmosphere prevails, he stressed.
Ban reiterated that the responsibility of finding a solution lies with the Cypriots themselves, noting that ``all Cypriots should be encouraged to become more active in this regard. In this connection, the proposals made by the two leaders on the roles that could be played by civil society should also be taken into account.``
He said it was important for all involved in the Cyprus issue to work to foster an atmosphere conducive to efforts aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement. In this regard, I am grateful for the support of Security Council members, as well as others concerned, for our collective efforts both in New York and on the island, he added.
The UN Secretary General said ``it is regrettable that the ongoing debate on the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots has become one about recognition. Recognition or assisting secession would be contrary to the resolutions of the Security Council. Rather, the objective of such efforts should be to engender greater economic and social parity between the sides by further promoting the development of the Turkish Cypriot community, so that the reunification of the island may occur in as seamless a manner as possible, he added.
Furthermore he noted that the maintenance of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties or contacts does not amount to recognition. On the contrary, it will benefit all Cypriots by building trust, creating a more even playing field and thus greatly contributing to the reunification of the island. It would therefore be important for all actors concerned to reframe the debate and their actions towards achieving this crucial objective in conformity with Security Council resolutions.
Ban expressed satisfaction that the Turkish Cypriot side overcame concerns regarding EU funding toward a mine-free buffer zone. Notwithstanding this positive development, it is disappointing that discussions on the protocol governing the remaining de-mining are not proceeding as quickly as envisaged. I would therefore urge that this issue be resolved as soon as possible in order to operationalise the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish commitment to the complete de-mining of the buffer zone, he said.
Ban said he was gratified that the Committee on Missing Persons has maintained momentum and is advancing toward resolving one of the most painful aspects of the Cyprus problem and noted that the success of this bi-communal endeavour will depend on the continued and welcomed respect and restraint shown by both communities, which has allowed this humanitarian issue to proceed in a depoliticized manner. He expressed hope that the progress achieved can contribute towards closer understanding between the two communities.
As he said, during the reporting period, the Committee pursued its bi-communal project on the exhumation, identification and return of remains of missing persons and to date, the remains of over 350 individuals have been exhumed on both sides of the buffer zone by teams comprised of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scientists.
Over 250 remains have undergone examination at the Committees bi-communal anthropological laboratory in the United Nations Protected Area in Nicosia. During the months of July and August, following genetic analysis, the first sets of identifications were concluded. As a result, 57 families received the remains of their missing relatives.
Ban commended both communities for showing the necessary respect in relation to the return of the first sets of remains ``a significant and sensitive moment for both communities`` and encouraged all concerned to build on this momentum towards the final resolution so as to put closure to this painful issue.
In conclusion, he said that in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, he believes that UNFICYP continues to play a vital role on the island and therefore recommended that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNFICYP by a further period of six months, until 15 June 2008.
 GREEK INTERIOR MINISTER - CYPRUS - ILLEGAL IMMIGRATIONThe problem of illegal immigration is a European problem, said Monday Greeces Minister for the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation, Prokopis Pavlopoulos noting that Europe should protect EU borders, especially countries of the south which face illegal immigration issues, such as Cyprus and Greece.
Speaking after being received by President Tassos Papadopoulos, Pavlopoulos also said that Europe should not make concessions as far as Turkeys EU accession course is concerned.
There cannot be concessions because if Europe acts along these lines, then the whole thing will degenerate. The issue is not for Europe to shift in order to meet Turkey or other states, but for Turkey to go forward to meet Europe, Pavlopoulos said.
Turkey, he added, should be seen as a candidate country which adopts fully the acquis communautaire, adding that if Turkey does not do this, it would be violating European law, something which would call for European sanctions.
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