UN's Ban says Cyprus talks making 'good progress'

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that talks to reunite the Cyprus were making "good progress"

UN's Ban says Cyprus talks making 'good progress'

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that talks to reunite the Cyprus were making "good progress" while Security Council heavyweight Russia said the rivals should be left on their own to broker a deal.

Diplomats are anxious for progress before Turkish Cypriot elections next year, but resolving the dispute has proved to be one of the most intractable diplomatic problems on the planet.

"The international community has invested a great deal in the Cypriot-driven process and has high expectations," Ban told reporters in Athens, where the latest talks are being held.

"I believe the talks are making reasonably good progress and this momentum must be kept up," he said.

The problem threatens Turkey's entry to the European Union.

Cyprus is represented in the EU by an a Greek Cypriot government which is criticised for moves against Turkey's joining the bloc.

Peace talks between the sides, led by the leaders of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities, started in Sept. 2008 and are overseen by U.N. envoy and former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer.

The United Nations has been careful to emphasise that the process is Cypriot-driven. The world body was stung badly in 2004 when a plan it presented to the two sides was rejected by Greek Cypriots but accepted by Turkish Cypriots.

"The sides must be left to find the formula of a settlement themselves ... the international community can assist, there cannot be any formula imposed from the outside," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a visit to Cyprus.

He also cautioned against the introduction of "artificial deadlines" which could pressure the sides.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Kasım 2009, 11:11
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