UN envoy sees cautious optimism in Cyprus peace deal

There was cautious optimism that an agreement could be reached, a senior UN official said on Thursday.

UN envoy sees cautious optimism in Cyprus peace deal

Ongoing peace talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders were progressing well, and while areas of divergence remained, there was cautious optimism that an agreement could be reached, a senior UN official said on Thursday.

UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, told a press conference at UN headquarters that UN was pleased with the progress that has been made in Cyprus peace talks between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias.

Cyprus talks were relaunched in September 2008 in an effort to find a solution to the Cyprus issue. The first round of the talks was completed on August 6, 2009. And the second round started on September 10.

Leaders, who are now in their second round of negotiations, met again on Thursday and would soon intensify the process. They agreed to meet twice a week instead of once to discuss governance and power-sharing issues, with a view to creating a "bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality and a singular international personality". The United Nations' role was to support the discussions.

"The future of the island is at stake," Downer said. "While momentum varied slightly week to week, it had been good overall, and leaders now had to draw up an agreement cautiously and thoughtfully."

The first round of talks, which was concluded at the start of the summer, focused on identifying areas of convergence and divergence, Downer said. The second round, by contrast, centered only on areas of difference, notably about the presidency, and had seen proposals put forward a week ago to "bridge" positions articulated in the first round, he added.

Cypriot leaders Talat and Christofias will have separate meetings with Ban Ki-moon in the coming days. Downer expressed hope that the Secretary-General would visit Cyprus but he did not give a specific time about Ban's visit to the island.

Responding to a query about when talks would come to a conclusion, Downer said the United Nations had never defined a point at which the talks must conclude.

They should proceed as quickly as is practical and maintain a good degree of momentum. The pace was accelerating in the second phase, which was appropriate, he said.

Downer also said that the global community supported a solution that envisioned Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality and a singular international personality.

"However, not all Cypriots supported that particular path, and it could not be forced on them. Cypriots themselves had to have the will to negotiate a successful solution. The international community had high expectations, given the political commitment of the two leaders," he said.

"I do not think Cypriots want the United Nations to write the plan. I think they want to write their own history," he concluded.


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Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2009, 16:31
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