Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the progress achieved by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in their United Nations-backed reunification talks and encouraged them to continue working towards a solution that takes into account the legitimate rights and concerns of both sides.
“A settlement is in the interest of all Cypriots, leading to stability, reconciliation and greater prosperity for Cyprus. It would also represent a critical peace dividend for the entire region,” a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said.
“The United Nations is committed to continue supporting the negotiations, and stands with the people of Cyprus as they work towards finally resolving this longstanding problem,” it added.
Mr. Ban congratulated Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias for their joint statement today, in which they reported important progress in the talks and stressed their strong commitment to reaching a settlement.
“Both Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat are leaders with courage and vision and they have taken enormous political risks to carry the process forward,” the spokesperson’s statement noted.
In their joint statement, which was read out on their behalf by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, after the latest round of talks in Nicosia, the leaders said important progress in the areas of governance and power-sharing, European Union (EU) matters and the economy has been achieved recently.
“We underscore the fact that negotiations are being conducted under the overriding principle of the ‘integrated whole approach,’ which means that ‘nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed’,” the two leaders said.
They stated that they were convinced that their “mutual concern for the common good of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots” and their will for a “comprehensive solution” will soon lead to an exhaustive discussion of the remaining aspects of the problem and the gaps between their positions to achieve a mutually acceptable solution that will be put to simultaneous referenda.
In 2008, Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat committed themselves to working towards “a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolution.”
That partnership would comprise a federal government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which would be of equal status.
A UN peacekeeping mission, known as UNFICYP, has been in place on the island since 1964 after an outbreak of inter-communal violence.