Top UN official to assess prospects for Cyprus settlement in upcoming regional visit

28 June 2006
Ibrahim Gambari

The top United Nations political officer will travel to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey at the beginning of July to discuss the possibility of resuming talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement on the divided island.

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, plans to hold meetings with officials in Ankara and Athens from 3 to 5 July and will then travel to the island of Cyprus from 6 to 9 July, a UN spokesman told reporters in New York today.

While in Cyprus, Mr. Gambari is expected to meet with both the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Tassos Papadopoulos. He will then return to New York to brief the Secretary-General on the results of his mission.

Earlier this month, the Security Council urged both sides on the divided island to resume negotiations for a comprehensive settlement and also extended through 15 December 2006 the mandate of the 40-year-old UN mission there that monitors the ceasefire lines extending some 180 kilometres across the island.

Official contacts between the two parties have not resumed since the April 2004 referendum on a comprehensive settlement plan, sponsored by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, failed. About 65 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the plan, while 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots voted against it.


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