UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has urged the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to make decisive steps towards a final agreement on the Cyprus problem, noting that at this state of the talks, to maintain the momentum and continue negotiations, even in an intensive manner, is not enough.
Speaking after talks at the Greentree Estate in Long Island, New York, with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, Ban said that at the end of March he would be hearing about the process from his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, and “if his report is positive, consistent with the relevant Security Council resolutions and following consultations with the two sides, I intend to call a multilateral conference in late April or early May.”
Ban thanked the leaders of the two communities for accepting his invitation to join him at Greentree over the last two days, noting that “this has been our fifth meeting together to support the leaders’ work to develop a comprehensive settlement for Cyprus, building on the steady efforts that have been made on the island since the resumption of negotiations more than three years ago.”
“When we met in Greentree last October, the leaders expressed confidence that they could reach a settlement. The two sides have continued their negotiations since that time to meet this objective. Just before this latest meeting at Greentree, I wrote to the two leaders, pointing out that the talks have moved into the final phase. Substantive discussions at Greentree were an integral part of this phase, leading to a multilateral conference and an ultimate settlement. Both leaders responded by reiterating their commitment to a solution,” he said.
He pointed out that “the two sides came to Greentree with three main challenges to resolve”, namely “the election of the executive, property and citizenship.”
“I asked the leaders to use this time to make decisive moves. Discussions over these two days were robust and intensive, although limited progress was achieved. I reminded the leaders that this process is Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led. The UN is not here to impose solutions upon the sides,” Ban said.
The UN Secretary General noted that “in terms of next steps, I have proposed that the sides complete the exchange of data on property within the next two weeks, to which they agreed.”
“Today my Special Adviser Mr. Downer will brief the Security Council in informal consultations. I will be providing a report to the Security Council on the status of the negotiations at the end of February. At the end of March I will seek a review of the process from my Special Adviser, Alexander Downer. If his report is positive, consistent with relevant Security Council resolutions and following consultations with the two sides, I intend to call a multilateral conference in late April or early May,” he added.
“I have urged the leaders to make decisive steps to move to a final agreement,” said Ban.
Ban also said that “the UN remains convinced that it is in the interest of all Cypriots to reach a durable settlement,” adding that “my Special Adviser and his team have been doing their utmost to assist the process, and they remain ready to assist the sides in this important task.”