U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned Cyprus’s Greek and Turkish leaders that they were running out of time to settle their dispute over the island, and urged them to break a deadlock in talks at a summit in New York later this month.
In unusually blunt letters to both leaders, Ban laid out the differences between divided Cypriot communities that are still blocking efforts to reunify the country.
“The negotiation … currently finds itself at an impasse on several issues,” Ban wrote in both letters, as reported by Reuters on Monday.
“I am concerned that opportunities to successfully conclude negotiations will be limited once the Republic of Cyprus takes up the presidency of the European Union on 1 July 2012,” he added in the letters, dated Jan. 4.
The government has confirmed reports that the UN Secretary General has sent letters to the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus. “I can confirm that UNSG Ban Ki-moon has sent letters to President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu,” Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said, replying to press questions.
“There is a letter from the SG. We have not received it yet but as soon as we do, I will comment on its contents and the President will reply accordingly to the SG,” Stephanou said.
Asked why the President had not received it by late Saturday, he said the UN had explained that there was a difference of a few hours in the delivery of the letters. “What is important is that we shall receive the letter,” he added.
(source: cna, Reuters)