Turkish, Greek leaders resume Cyprus talks, UN upbeat

The U.N. sounded the unusually upbeat note over the talks as leaders resumed talks in the buffer zone to find a solution to Cyprus question.

Turkish, Greek leaders resume Cyprus talks, UN upbeat

President Dervis Eroglu of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias resumed talks on Wednesday in the buffer zone to find a solution to Cyprus question.

The United Nations said it believed a peace deal on Cyprus could be brokered within months.

Extensive settlement talks in Cyprus were suspended due to the presidential election in TRNC on April 18.

The new Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias met over a dinner at Chataux Status Restaurant in the buffer zone in Lefkosa on Tuesday upon invitation by Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus Alexander Downer.

Wednesday's talks started with property issue.

Eroglu's predecessor Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias got together 71 times under the extensive settlement talks, which began on September 11, 2008. The last meeting took place on March 30.

The Greek Cypriot side wants to continue talks on the same basis from where they left off with Talat.

"Deal possible in months"

The U.N. sounded the unusually upbeat note over the talks.

"The international community is committed to continuing its support for this Cypriot-led process. I truly believe that you can reach an agreement in the coming months," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement to Turkish and Greek leaders.

But in the statement, read by U.N. Cyprus envoy Alexander Downer to the two sides, Ban said: "The peace process is at an important point. A settlement is within your grasp and this opportunity must be seized, as time is not on your side."

The United Nations acts as a facilitator in talks, held at a compound straddling a buffer zone between the two sides. The Cyprus conflict is one of the longest-running issues on the U.N. agenda, and its peacekeeping operation on the island is one of the world's oldest.

"This is not a zero-sum game. It is possible, and indeed necessary, to arrive at a solution that clearly benefits both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots," Ban said.

Cyprus joined the EU as a divided island when Greek Cypriots in the south rejected the UN reunification plan in twin referendums in 2004 even though the Turkish Cypriots in the north overwhelmingly supported it.

"Topic"

Eroglu said that the parties put their good will onto the negotiation table during the settlement talks.

"I wish the talks, which started with good will intentions, will continue and to achieve an agreement which can be accepted by the two parties," Eroglu said.

Speaking to reporters following his first meeting with Christofias, Eroglu said they focused on property issue, "property is one of the most difficult topics. We should concentrate on this topic and conclude it."

"I wish the parties will achieve an agreement which the two parties can accept," Eroglu said, adding "no decision has been made to continue the negotiations intensively. We will meet next Thursday."

Eroglu said there would not be any tete-a-tete meeting, noting that during the election campaign he said he opposed to tete-a-tete meetings without notes.

Downer said after the meeting that the leaders discussed property issue, adding that talks on this topic would continue.

Noting that the leaders confirmed the consensus which was previously reached by the parties, Downer said that Eroglu and Christofias would meet again on Thursday next week.

The promise made by EU foreign ministers before the referendums to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and establish direct trade with north Cyprus remains unfulfilled.

TRNC is an independent republic located in the north of Cyprus. TRNC declared its independence in 1983, nine years after a Greek Cypriot coup attempting to annex the island to Greece led to a peace operation by Turkey. The TRNC has received diplomatic recognition from the Republic of Turkey and the TRNC has representations in dozens of countries across the globe.


Agencies

Last Mod: 26 Mayıs 2010, 16:19
Add Comment