United Nations.- by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the need to maintain the momentum so that direct negotiations between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, aiming at a mutually accepted solution to the Cyprus problem, have a successful conclusion.
In statements after a half an hour meeting between Ban Ki-moon and Cyprus Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou held in New York on Thursday, a UN Secretary General Spokesman said that “during the meeting they discussed the current process on the island, issues related to UNFICYP, and other matters”.
“The UN Secretary-General noted that, whilst the talks had made good progress to date, it was extremely important to maintain the momentum in order to bring the current negotiations to a successful conclusion”, he added.
Kyprianou stated that he conveyed the message to the UN Secretary General that neither arbitration nor tight time frames should be imposed. “What has been agreed in March 2008 should be followed because is the only way to see a positive outcome from this process”, he said.
Kyprianou noted that his meeting with the UN Secretary General was useful and important, and that he had the opportunity to inform Ban Ki-moon on the positions of the government of Cyprus and President Christofias about the current process.
“The Secretary General has a particular interest in the Cyprus issue, he is being informed about it and he has expressed his support towards President Christofiasʼ initiatives and leading role to this process”, he noted.
Cyprus Foreign Minister said that it is important for the UN Secretary General to be informed about the talks, not only by his representatives, ”but also directly by us”.
As regards the renewal of UNFICYP mandate, which coincides with the Turkish Presidency of the UN Security Council, Kyprianou said that the Turkish Presidency should not affect the renewal of UNFICYPʼs mandate. “Those who supported the Turkish candidacy to the UN Security Council have assured us that Turkey will behave constructively on issues that concern her”, he said.
Asked to comment on the meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Talat, Kyprianou said that the US administration has dealt with Talatʼs visit in a very good manner. “The US administration received him as the representative of the Turkish Cypriot community, and clearly stated that it recognizes only one Government in Cyprus, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus”, he said and added: “I believe that the US position should satisfy our side”.
As regards the possibility of an appointment of a US Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Kyprianou said that the Greek Cypriot side is ready to discuss this issue with the US administration. Kyprianou will have a meeting with Secretary Clinton on Monday.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed on Wednesday her support for a just and lasting settlement for the people of Cyprus into a bizonal, bicommunal federation a US State Department official told Turkish and Greek journalists after a meeting held at the State Department between Clinton and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
The official also noted that the United States recognizes only one government in Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus, although it maintains close relations with the Turkish Cypriots in pursuit of a Cyprus settlement.
Referring to the meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat which took place on Wednesday, the official said Clinton expressed support for Talatʼs ”constructive approach towards reunification and also, saluted President Christofias for his leadership. She applauded the courage and wisdom of both leaders in undertaking the current negotiations.”
As he said, ”USA supports the negotiations that are being led actually by the Cypriots themselves under the auspices of the UN Secretary-Generalʼs Good Offices mission, for a settlement that reunites Cyprus under a bizonal, bicommunal federation. This is our objective and that has been the objective of the United States for many years. And to support those efforts, Secretary Clinton met with Minister Kyprianou on April 5th, in Prague and she plans to see him I believe the date is April 20th in Washington, DC”.
He noted that ”in the same spirit she met with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat today in Washington. Now, I want to repeat to be very clear so there is absolute no misunderstanding”.
Chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman said on Tuesday that the United States want to assist in the process for a solution of the Cyprus problem, noting however that the Cypriots want to take the ownership of the process and do not seem to want any plans imposed on them.
Berman, who is heading a Foreign Affairs Committee delegation visiting Cyprus, was received on Tuesday by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, and later on met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou.
Speaking after the delegation’s meeting with President Christofias, Berman said “we are an American delegation of members of the House of Representatives, bipartisan, who come here, one supporting the notion of Cyprus as one sovereign country, and secondly, believing that both the President of the Republic of Cyprus and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community are two people who want to resolve this problem and make this happen, and we are very excited by the willingness of the two leaders to talk and get together to finally come to a much too long delayed resolution,” he said.