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Media Watch 2003

03 June 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 3 June 2003.
Annan welcomes crossings but insists on solution

U.N. SECRETARY-general Kofi Annan yesterday recommended the Security Council extend mandate of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months, saying recent developments on the island were not a substitute for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.

In his report, submitted to the Security Council and covering the period from November 15, 2002 until May 20 this year, the UN chief underlined it was “highly unlikely that such a settlement can be achieved without a genuine political commitment” to the proposals he submitted, and without “a firm timetable to finalise negotiations as outlined in the recent report on my mission of good offices”.

Instead, under the current conditions, he suggested extending UNFICYP’s mandate for another six months (until December 15), as the peacekeeping force’s presence on the island is “essential to the maintenance of the ceasefire between the two sides”.

In his report, Annan also expressed his satisfaction at the easing of restrictions on movement between the occupied and government controlled areas, as well as the good will displayed by the populations of both sides.

The Secretary-general expressed the hope that “two sides will build on that good will by taking further steps to enhance mutual confidence,” and added UNFICYP was prepared to assist them in this direction.

Annan also noted that during the past six months the situation along the cease-fire lines had remained calm but said it was “regrettable that no progress has been achieved in restoring the status quo ante in the village of Strovilia”.

Regarding UNFICYP itself, the Secretary-general welcomed the limited easing of restrictions by the Turkish Cypriot authorities of the force’s movements as a first step, but added UNFICYP should be provided complete access and full freedom of movement to carry out its mandate throughout its entire area of responsibility."