President Christofias satisfied with results of joint meeting with U.N. Secretary General and Eroglu in New York.
United Nations.-By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have decided to intensify their contacts in the coming weeks in an attempt to overcome the major points of disagreement, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced in New York. Speaking on Thursday after a meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, Ban said he will meet again with both leaders in January next year in Geneva.
“We have just had a constructive exchange of views on the core issues, including governance and power-sharing, economy, EU matters, property, territory and security,” he said, having thanked the two leaders for traveling to New York for the meeting and having expressed appreciation for their commitment.
He said that “real progress was being made in the talks”, noting that when he visited Cyprus earlier this year, he could feel the hope and expectation among people on both sides for a settlement that would finally reunify Cyprus
“That sense of anticipation has faded, however, as talks continued throughout the remainder of the year without clear progress or a clear end in sight. That is why I invited the leaders to meet with me today. The peace talks on Cyprus were losing momentum and needed a boost if the two sides are to reach a settlement while there is still the time and the political opportunity to do so,” the Secretary General explained.
He stressed that “only the leaders can give it that boost. The United Nations can support them, as we have been doing through the work of my Special Adviser and his team. But only the leaders can arrive at a solution.”
“I made it clear to both leaders that the United Nations respects these talks as a Cypriot-led process. It is precisely for that reason that we expect the Cypriot sides to assume their responsibility to drive this process toward a solution. The people of Cyprus and the international community want a solution, not endless talks,” he pointed out.
Commenting on Thursday’s meeting with the two leaders, he expressed hope that the meeting had helped to restore momentum to the process. “Both leaders have told me they recognize the need to move more quickly and decisively in order to reach a settlement. Serious differences remain, but both leaders expressed their commitment to work together, as partners, toward that goal.”
Projecting positive messages, he added, “is critical if any agreement is to be trusted and embraced by the respective publics in referenda.”
“Specifically, the leaders agreed today to intensify their contacts in the coming weeks in order to establish a practical plan for overcoming the major remaining points of disagreement. We have agreed to meet again at the end of January next year in Geneva,” Ban announced.
In the meantime, he continued, “the leaders will identify further convergences and the core issues which still need to be resolved, across all chapters. That, in turn, will help the United Nations determine its own next steps.”
Referring to his forthcoming report to the Security Council later this month, which is to provide an assessment of the state of the negotiations, Ban said he had promised the leaders that the report will be frank and fair.
“Today’s meeting has helped to inform that report. I will remain in close touch with my Special Adviser in the days ahead,” he concluded.
CHRISTOFIAS – EROGLU
President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said late on Thursday he was satisfied with the results of his joint meeting.
”I am leaving New York very satisfied with the results of this meeting,” he said, noting that ”there are no timeframes, there is no threat from anywhere, and there is no intention on behalf of the Secretary General to exert pressure.”
President Christofias added that ”we want a solution of the Cyprus problem, we do not want talks just for the sake of it,” noting that ”we will do everything possible to break the deadlock and I hope we do.”
President Christofias met on Thursday with the Permanent Representatives of France, Russia and Greece and on Friday with the Permanent Representative of China, to brief them on the results of the meeting in light of the good offices report and the UNFICYP of the Secretary General that will be submitted to the Security Council on November 23 and December 1 respectively.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu despite he didn’t go into the details of the negotiation, he said “there are 6 chapters in the negotiations. And in all these 6 chapters there have been some difficulties, some points of disagreement during the negotiations. The Secretary-General has invited us at the end of January to Geneva in order to see how we can overcome some of these stumbling blocks in the negotiations and we have agreed to do so.”
Eroglu pointed out that since taking over, he has been discussing the chapter of property with the Greek Cypriot leader Mr. Christofias, while his predecessor Mr Talat had discussed with Christofias the other 3 chapters, Governance and power sharing, EU matters and Economic matters.
“Therefore we will meet together with Mr. Christofias to carry out our work in order to overcome the stumbling blocks that have appeared in the chapters that have been discussed. Six chapters as I said before, are on the agenda and there are also other chapters , other headings that have not been discussed so far. There will be proposals by our side also on those chapters.”
Dervis Eroglu added that at the end of January the Secretary-General will evaluate at the meeting that we will hold together again the three parties.
“He will evaluate the results of that meeting and of course as Turkish Cypriot side we will go to that meeting in good will and make our contribution in overcoming the difficulties. I cannot know from now what the decision of the Secretary-General will be at the end of January in Geneva. He may decide one way or the other. We cannot tell what his evaluation will be.”
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that no timetables or issues regarding arbitration or a change in the role of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon were set out during the meeting in New York between Ban, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
In statements to Athens News Agency, Stephanou said that the UN continues to support efforts for a Cyprus settlement with no arbitration or submission of bridging proposals.
He noted that President Christofias did not come under any pressure and there was no proposal by the UN to hold a four-party meeting on Cyprus issue.
Replying to questions, Stephanou stressed that the Greek Cypriot side wants efforts for a settlement to be refreshed, without changing the process and getting away from the frameworks determined by the UN resolutions as regards both the process and the settlement framework.
“We can say for sure that the process cannot change and the UN has not asked for a change in the process,” he added.
He noted that “the process continues to belong to the Cypriots, and so the two communities continue the bicommunal dialogue with a view to reach a mutually agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem, that will end up to simultaneous and separate referenda for approval.”
Stephanou noted that the UN continues to support efforts for a Cyprus settlement without arbitration, without submitting bridging proposals and without all the scenarios published in the media.
“It was also agreed to intensify negotiations with a view to achieve new convergences on the issues that have been discussed and the issues which are before us. The position of the Greek Cypriot side is well known for discussing the issue of properties along with the issue of territorial adjustments and the issue of illegal settlers, because we believe that addressing these issues together will facilitate efforts to reach convergences and will speed up the negotiations. We will insist on this to move ahead in a rapid pace to efforts for a Cyprus settlement,” he added.
Invited to comment on statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu that there are complications with regard to the six chapters of the negotiations, Stephanou said that “we consider that what has been agreed and the convergences reached are there.”
“Our attention will focus on the issues where there are divergences and disagreements,” he added.
Stephanou also noted that the role of the UN is to facilitate the process as a mediator and this role does not change.
Peace talks between the two communities in Cyprus, under UN auspices, began in September 2008, with a view to find a negotiated settlement to reunite the island, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.