Cypriot leaders move on with UN-backed reunification negotiations

5 March 2009
Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias (right) and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders held talks today in the latest bout of United Nations-backed negotiations aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met today for an hour-and-a-half tête-à-tête before continuing discussions on the country’s delicate property issue.

“They have now referred the matter to the representatives to consider, in tandem with other issues including governance and confidence-building measures,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Tayé-Brook Zerihoun told the press following the meeting in Nicosia.

Asked if progress was made on the property issue, Mr. Zerihoun said, “I would not make that judgement, because it would be a subjective judgement.”

The leaders have agreed to meet next week to discuss matters concerning the European Union on 11 March. Their representatives will then meet on 12 March for talks on a range of other issues, he added.

In May 2008, the two leaders committed themselves to working towards “a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions.”

The partnership will comprise a Federal Government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which will be of equal status.

The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been in place on the island since 1964 after the outbreak of intercommunal violence. It is tasked with preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order.


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