Cyprus problem settlement is UN prerogative

Turkey hopes for the Cyprus problem to be settled within the framework of the United Nations initiatives, Turkish ambassador to Russia Kurtulus Tashkent told the press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

"I hope that the United Nations, its Secretary General and the Security Council should be the main organisational force in handling the problem", Tashkent said.

He could not predict when the United Nations Security Council may adopt a new resolution on Cyprus.

"As is known, Russia has vetoed the previous UN Cyprus resolution. The reason was the fact that its adoption before the referendum could be a factor in the expression of the will of the people of Cyprus", the Turkish ambassador said.

"The referendum has been held, the UN resolution not adopted and it is hard to say what comes next", he said.

"We would like Russia to take into consideration the situation on the island. We see that there are in Cyprus now two sides, one being for and the other against settlement", the Turkish ambassador added.

At the April 24 referendum on the plan offered by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Turkish community voted for and the Greek community against the UN plan.

This means that on May 1 only the Republic of Cyprus will enter into the European Union, while the Cypriot Turks of what is called the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus will remain beyond.

Simultaneously, the Turkish ambassador called for lifting the international embargo from the self-proclaimed republic of the Turkish Cypriots.

"In a situation when in referendum the Turkish Cypriots have said yes to the UN peaceful settlement plan and agreed to live in peace with the Greek Cypriots, it cannot be allowed that they go on being punished as before", Kurtulus Tashkent said.

The Turkish ambassador noted that the European Union and the United States have made definite steps in this direction. "On Monday the EU decided to allocate 259 million euros of help to the Turkish Cypriots. Today the lifting of trade embargo is expected to be considered. The United States has also given to understand that it will take definite steps in this direction", he noted.

"We hope that other states will follow suit", Tashkent added.

International sanctions were introduced after in 1974 the Turkish army invaded Cyprus and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus was declared on the occupied lands. Turkey proper has not recognised it to date. Trade embargo regarding the occupied lands concerns aerial and oversea communication, as well as trade with third countries. Turkey is now the only trading partner of the occupied lands.

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