Cyprus diplomacy goes on

The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the Cyprus issue today and to pass a resolution on the basis of a report on the failure of UN-mediated efforts to reunify the island. In two days, Cyprus will sign an Accession Treaty with the European Union in Athens, heralding a new phase in the island’s history. Until Cyprus is reunited, the Turkish-occupied part will not enjoy the benefits of EU membership. The US State Department’s special coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, arrived in Nicosia yesterday. He is to meet with President Tassos Papadopoulos today and will also hold talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Weston told reporters that his visit was part of the effort to get negotiations going again after the new Security Council resolution. The United States wants to keep the plan proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the table. Efforts to pass a resolution on Cyprus were deadlocked on Thursday by division among the Security Council’s permanent members. The United States and Britain supported the draft resolution calling for «a comprehensive settlement» based on Annan’s «carefully balanced plan.» But Russia and China didn’t want the resolution to mention any plan because Annan’s proposal was not accepted, The Associated Press quoted diplomats at the UN as saying on condition of anonymity. In a 40-page report on his failed effort, Annan praised the Greek-Cypriot contribution to the talks, and said Denktash «bears prime responsibility» for the failure of the effort. The US House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously blamed Denktash. In a resolution, it expressed «very strong regret» that Denktash «denied the Turkish-Cypriot people the opportunity to determine their own future by refusing to offer the settlement proposal to referenda.»