February 22, 2019

Press Conference of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Mr. Alvaro de Soto

I made clear to your colleagues when I arrived at the end of last week that I did not have any great expectations during this particular visit and not surprisingly I have no breakthroughs to announce at this time.


Of course, I have not concluded my round of consultations yet. The Secretary General has asked me to consult with all concerned about the conduct of his good offices in the period to come. I will not hide from you that he was prompted to charge me with this mission due in part to the announced decision on the part of Mr. Denktash not to participate further in the proximity talks. This we consider to be a regrettable stance and we hope that it will be possible to find a way to continue in our efforts.I have been in Athens where I saw the Greek Foreign Minister, I have met twice with Mr. Clerides and twice with Mr. Denktash, I am flying tomorrow to Turkey where I shall be meeting with the Foreign Minister Mr. Cem and then I will be reporting to the Secretary-General and I hope it will be possible subsequently to be in a position to resume our efforts.


I do not wish to go into the details, if ever confidential as is necessary it is now when we are talking about difficult procedural issues that have serious bearing on the substance. We are not discouraged because we have, as all of you know, always taken the long view. We know that this is bound to be a long process on that. The strategy that it was needed was that of a long distance runner who paces himself that on certain moments increases his pace, and other moments increases it according to developments and according whether there at hills of flat terrain. So this is much as I can say to you in the middle of a consultation process which has not concluded. I will attempt to the best of my abilities to answer your questions.


Question: When you express the hope that it will be possible to find a way to continue the process, that means the changing of procedures and the parameters of talks, as Mr. Denktash demands, is on the agenda so it will be possible to come back to this process?


de Soto: Probably not. The answer that you can is that the secretary General has a mandate of good offices from the Security Council based on the resolution 1250. On the basis of this and having been assured of the concurrence of the parties the Secretary-General invited them to proximity talks in November of 1999. Within these parameters the Secretary-General feels that it should be possible to accommodate all concerns including those raised by Mr. Denktash.


Question: There is no issue of changing the mandate?


de Soto: We have no plans, we are not looking for a change of mandate or procedure.


Question: Mr. Denktash said that the American interlocutors and the UN promised that in order to start this process nobody will refer to the Security resolutions and then you changed your mind. Is this accurate?


de Soto: I do not want to engage into polemics with Mr. Denktash though the press, but I believe that what Mr. Denktash is alluding to is the fact that there is will be no specific reference to Security Council resolutions in the invitation that was issued to him, as in fact there is not. The Secretary-General has never made any secret of the fact however, that his mandate derives from the Security Council resolution. The specific resolution which set in train this effort, which is resolution 1250 which gives four basic criteria under which this good offices effort should be conducted, the four points that should be no preconditions, all issues on the table, that there should be a commitment in good faith to continue in the effort until a comprehensive settlement is achieved and that full consideration should be given to all relevant Security Council resolutions. That is all but there is no specific reference by the Secretary-General in the comments that he has made to to he parties to the resolutions of the Security Council.