In a new report to the Security Council, Mr. Annan says the rejection of a settlement plan put to referenda on the island represents “another missed opportunity” to resolve the Cyprus problem.While noting that the decision of the Greek Cypriots to vote no on the plan must be respected, he calls it “a major setback.”The decision of the Turkish Cypriots, who voted yes, is to be welcomed, the Secretary-General says. “The Turkish Cypriot vote has undone any rationale for pressuring and isolating them,” he observes.Mr. Annan expresses hope that Council members can lead the effort to eliminate unnecessary barriers against Turkish Cypriots “not for the purposes of affording recognition or assisting secession, but as a positive contribution to the goal of reunification.”A lasting solution, he asserts, requires more than a comprehensive and carefully balanced peace plan. “It also needs bold and determined political leadership on both sides in the island, as well as in Greece and Turkey, all in place at the same time, ready to negotiate with determination and to convince their people of the need to compromise.”Although the plan, having been rejected by the Greek Cypriots, is legally null and void, its acceptance by the Turkish Cypriot electorate “means that the shape of any final settlement to reunify Cyprus would appear to be set,” he says.Cypriots from all walks of life who worked with courage and determination to achieve a settlement must continue their efforts, he emphasizes. “The prospects for the reunification of their country now rest primarily in their hands.”In New York today, Mr. Annan conveyed these views to Tassos Papadopoulos, the President of Cyprus, a UN spokesman said after their meeting.”The Secretary-General said that after the decisive rejection of the plan by the Greek Cypriots, it would be for that side to explain fully to the Turkish Cypriots, the UN and the rest of the world how they see the way forward,” spokesman Fred Eckhard said.Mr. Annan also appealed to Mr. Papadopoulos to seize the initiative in responding positively to his appeal for States to eliminate unnecessary barriers to the development of the Turkish Cypriots. “This will signal that the Greek Cypriots wish to reach out to their Turkish Cypriot compatriots in the north, and assist them and help facilitate the eventual goal of reunification,” Mr. Eckhard said.
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