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Cyprus reunification talks making ‘good progress,’ says UN official

Cyprus reunification talks making ‘good progress,’ says UN official

Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer
Today’s United Nations-led talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island were “positive,” according to a senior official with the world body.

Addressing reporters following the meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Nicosia, Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, said that “good progress was made,” building on talks held earlier this week.

Mechanisms to resolve deadlocks were the focus of today’s discussions, which also touched on past acts and the hierarchy of norms.

The two leaders asked Mr. Downer to stress that they held a “very good” meeting today, he said.

In response to a question, the Adviser said that he remains convinced that “there is a real possibility of reaching a settlement here” this year, but acknowledged that it would be an “incredibly difficult task.”

He added, “No one should underestimate how hard it is, after so many years and such deep conflict to put together an agreement, but days like today just help to confirm the view that I’ve expressed on many occasions that I am cautiously optimistic.”

Next week, representatives of Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat, along with specialists, will meet periodically, and the leaders themselves will resume talks on 28 January to begin discussing the issue of property.

The full-fledged power-sharing negotiations, central to the reunification process in Cyprus, began last September.

UN peacekeepers have been deployed in Cyprus since 1964 to prevent fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.