United Nations.- By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said Tuesday that the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus have agreed that efforts are essential over the next two months to move to the end game of the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue. http://www.greeknewsonline.com/?page_id=17452
At the same time, he said after the two day talks at Greentree mansion in Long Island that the leaders assured him that they can finalize a deal, acknowledging that there is still work to be done and that by January, when they will meet again with the SG, Ban expects that the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem will have been resolved so that they can move to the multilateral conference shortly thereafter.
Ban Ki-moon made the remarks in the presence of President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and their aides after the negotiations were concluded Monday in New York.
In his remarks, the UNSG thanked the two leaders for accepting his invitation to join him at Greentree over the last two days.
“This has been our fourth meeting together as we work to develop a comprehensive settlement for Cyprus. We last met in July in Geneva. At that meeting we agreed that the sides would intensify the talks in order to reach convergences on outstanding core issues in the negotiations”, said Ban.
Since July, he noted, “in that intensified phase, the leaders met 19 times in an intensive way. It was a difficult period at times, but both sides stayed the course and progress was made on some key outstanding issues”.
The UN Secretary General said “considerable advances were made in the areas of economy, EU matters and internal aspects of security”, however “much less progress was made in the important areas of governance, property, territory and citizenship”
Ban said he “invited His Excellency Mr. Christofias and His Excellency Mr. Eroglu to Greentree in the hope of reaching further convergences on these central issues. I have also used the opportunity of our time together at Greentree to assess how close the two sides are to reaching a solution”.
He remarked that the “sides have made some encouraging progress during these two days on some of the remaining core issues” and as his Special Adviser, Alexander Downer noted, “discussions have been positive, productive and vigorous. This has given me confidence that a comprehensive settlement can be achieved. Both leaders have assured me that they believe that they can finalize a deal”, he said.
Ban Ki-moon said “there is still work to be done”, noting that Christofias and Eroglu, “have agreed that further efforts are essential over the next two months to move to the end game of the negotiations. My Special Adviser and his team remain ready to assist”.
He also said that he had invited the two leaders to “meet with me again in a similar format in January next year. By then, I expect the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem to have been resolved so that we can move to the multilateral conference shortly thereafter”.
This was the fourth meeting of the leaders with the UNSG. The first took place in November 2010, followed by two more meetings held in Geneva on January 26 and July 7, 2011, during which both sides reaffirmed their commitment to finding a comprehensive solution as soon as possible, while in Geneva, on 26 January 2011, the sides agreed to intensify the negotiations