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UN envoy 'optimistic' about ongoing Cyprus talks

UN envoy 'optimistic' about ongoing Cyprus talks

Alvaro de Soto, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus - who is present during the ongoing talks in Nicosia - has expressed optimism regarding their potential for success, while cautioning that much work lies ahead.

"There has been a notable lack of hesitation on the part of both leaders to touch on all issues, including the most sensitive ones," Alvaro de Soto, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, said in an interview with UN Radio on Tuesday. "They have done so in one rather long private meeting that they had on the first day - the 16th of January - and they have gone on touching on the core issues that have been identified by the Secretary-General as needing to be resolved as part of a comprehensive settlement, and there seems to be a wish to address the questions without hesitation and a willingness to consider each other's positions, which I must say didn't exist heretofore."

"There is a long way to go, one shouldn't underestimate the challenge, they have difficult issues that have been the subject of controversy for many, many years - decades now," he said, noting that changed circumstances were favourable. "Given the new spirit that reigns, given the fact that a lot of the attention in this part of the world seems to be headed toward Europe, given also the Greek/Turkish rapprochement and other factors, there is reason to be hopeful and indeed optimistic."

Asked about the goal of joining the European Union and its impact on the talks, Mr. de Soto said the sides held "a commonly shared goal that it would be much better if the accession of Cyprus to the European Union were done with a reunified Cyprus." Listen to interview