There has been progress in several of the core issues, and that is encouraging but there are still difficulties to be resolved on the core issues, said here on Friday UN General Secretary’s Special Adviser on the Cyprus issue Alexander Downer.
In statements he made to the press after the last meeting of the two leaders in the intensified phase of UN led talks which aim to resolve the Cyprus problem, Downer said that “it was a more productive meeting than the meeting they had on Wednesday”, adding that “they focused on the questions of the Executive and Citizenship”.
Of course, he noted, “there is still some way to go and the Secretary General will look forward to meeting them in just over a week`s time and he will be able to examine the differences that still exist on some of these issues with the leaders and try to explore with them how the leaders believe they can resolve those differences”.
“We are looking forward to this meeting, it is going to be an important meeting and the SG, I know, wants to be hopeful”, he said.
Downer also said that he had “a discussion about the meeting with the two leaders and explained to them the thinking we currently have”, adding that “of course I will have to talk all this over with the SG and I will be giving him a briefing next Saturday afternoon and from there obviously he will make decisions about how precisely he wants to handle the meeting”.
Invited to say what his suggestions to Ban Ki-moon will be he said “my job is to make sure that I brief him first”, adding that he will go over with the Secretary General the progress that has been achieved since July 7th, the difficulties that still remain and why these difficulties are still there, as well as what the two leaders can do to resolve those difficulties.
“Obviously where there are difficulties at some point they have to be resolved”, he said.
Downer further said that in all peace processes there are difficulties encountered and that a lot of patience is required and in the end compromise. Compromise, he added, doesn’t always come very fast.
“We look forward to the meeting and we hope it will make a constructive contribution to the future of Cyprus”, he stressed.
Invited to say whether enough progress had been achieved since the last meeting the two leaders had with the UN SG, Downer said that he will not try “to ‘gild the Lilly’ at all or indeed try to talk down the process, I just call it as I see it”.
“I think it would be fair to say in this situation that there has been progress in several of the core issues, and that is encouraging”, he said, adding however that “there are still difficulties to be resolved on the core issues”.
“The Secretary General obviously wants to hear about what those difficulties are and to hear from the leaders what ideas they have for overcoming those difficulties”, he noted.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN led talks have been underway since 2008 with an aim to reunify the island under a federal roof.
President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu are expected to meet with UN SG Ban Ki-moon in New York at the end of October in the context of the ongoing process.