21.04.04. Statement by Gennady Gatilov, Acting Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, Security Council Meeting on Cyprus, April 21, 2004

Esteemed Mr. President,

The Russian Federation has been consistently supportive of the Mission of Good Offices of the UN Secretary General and his efforts in favor of an equitable settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions and an expression of the will of both Cypriot communities. We presume that it is necessary for the international community and the Security Council to help the achievement of agreements between the Cypriot parties themselves in the first place, but not try to impose on them any solutions at all.

We are convinced that the referenda, scheduled for April 24 in both parts of Cyprus, should proceed freely, without any outside interference or pressure. It is necessary to wait for their results, after which the Security Council will be in a position to take a well considered decision, including with respect to the deployment on the island of a new UN peacekeeping operation, fully cognizant of the situation which will develop on the island after the referenda, including the concerns of the Cypriot parties about security guarantees within the framework of an all-embracing Cyprus settlement.

The Russian delegation expresses deep regret at the way the work had been arranged on the draft resolution put to a vote in the Council today. The draft is about elaboration of a serious decision on the parameters for a new UN peacekeeping operation in Cyprus and the imposition of a military embargo. Such a technically complex and legally intricate decision requires the most serious and careful discussion. However the resolution's coauthors, having ignored other Council members' opinion, practically without discussion, put the draft resolution to a vote.

We draw attention to the fact that the parties directly interested in settlement, as well as a majority of the Council members spoke against such a "quick" adoption of a resolution ahead of the referenda.

Under these conditions the Russian side has no choice but to exercise a "technical" veto so as to provide conditions for normal, mutually respectful work on elaborating a generally acceptable Security Council decision for all the parties later on.

The Russian delegation is ready in the future to participate most constructively in working out a Security Council resolution on this question. In this case we act on the understanding that such work will be continued after the referenda in both parts of Cyprus, with due consideration for their results and envisaging the generally acceptable ways for the removal of the Cypriot parties' concerns.