Top U.N. adviser returns to Cyprus

April 6, 2004 at 3:56 PM
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LARNACA, Cyprus, April 6 (UPI) -- The top U.N. adviser on Cyprus returned to the long-divided Mediterranean isle Monday, less than three weeks before a referendum on a plan to unify it.

Alvaro de Soto, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special adviser on Cyprus said in Larnaca, Cyprus, he was aware that he comes back at a very delicate moment.

With separate and simultaneous referenda on the settlement plan scheduled for a vote April 24, the decision is now up to the people of Cyprus, and rightly so, de Soto said. "We have no intention of interfering in that democratic decision."

Last week, Annan completed a plan that would create a United Cyprus Republic -- composed of two constituent states linked by a federal government. This came after Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders failed to reach agreement in six weeks of negotiations.

De Soto urged the people of Cyprus to read the plan, adding that the plan was improved, for both sides, in last week's talks in Switzerland.

"Obviously the plan is a compromise -- but it is a principled compromise," he said.

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