UN envoy returns to Cyprus ahead of referenda on settlement plan

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Alvaro de Soto, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, said he was aware that he comes back at a very delicate moment.With separate and simultaneous referenda on the settlement plan scheduled for 24 April, the decision is now up to the people of Cyprus, and rightly so, Mr. de Soto said. “We have no intention of interfering in that democratic decision,” he added.Last week, Mr. Annan stepped in to complete a plan that would create a United Cyprus Republic – composed of two constituent states linked by a federal government – after six weeks of negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders failed to reach agreement.Mr. de Soto today urged the people of Cyprus to read the plan, adding that, despite what has been reported in some quarters, 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.