22.04.04. Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation On the Vote in the United Nations Security Council on the Draft Resolution on Cyprus Settlement, April 22, 2004
Voting on the Anglo-American draft resolution on Cyprus took place in the United Nations Security Council on April 21. Russia was forced to resort to its veto power in accordance with its prerogatives as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. This decision had been taken with regard to the following considerations.
The Russian Federation is interested in seeing the chronic conflict on the island definitively solved on the basis of a consent of the parties and in accordance with the United Nations resolutions. We have consistently supported and continue to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General in favor of an equitable settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The peace plan suggested by the UN Secretary General is submitted to the separate referenda of the Cypriot communities, due to be held on April 24. It is through these referenda that the key principle of the parties' voluntary consent to the suggested parameters for settlement on the island will be realized.
Russia neither had nor has any serious problems with the general content of the draft resolution submitted for consideration by the UN Security Council. The arrangements therein envisaged - the creation of a new UN peacekeeping operation and the imposition of an arms embargo within the framework of a demilitarization of the island - flow directly from the recommendations of Kofi Annan. At the same time this draft bears a voluminous and technically and legally very complicated character. Such a responsible and complex decision was put to the vote without a detailed examination by the UN Security Council members. The amendments proposed by Russia were not adequately taken into account.
Neither could we fail to take note of the fact that the Cypriot parties had themselves spoken against a "rushed" adoption of the resolution. Adopting the resolution without regard to their positions would have contradicted the philosophy of the settlement of the Cyprus problem. In addition, the understanding earlier reached in the Security Council with the participation of the UN Secretary General that a vote on the resolution was to follow after the referenda, had been breached.
Thus, Russia's vote against the resolution reflects our disagreement not so much with its content as with the manner in which an attempt was made to exert influence on the outcome of the expression of the people's will in Cyprus. In this sense the Russian veto bears a "procedural-technical" character with a view to subsequently providing conditions for normal mutually respectful work on the elaboration of a generally acceptable decision.
Russia is ready in the future to participate most constructively in the elaboration of a UN Security Council resolution on this question in the event of a positive vote on April 24. Such work should be continued after the referenda in both parts of Cyprus and take due account of their results.
April 22, 2004