Cyprus: Leaders to continue UN-backed talks on core issues

4 January 2012

The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities will continue to make efforts to reach agreement on core issues when they meet near New York later this month for talks aimed at reunifying the island of Cyprus, a United Nations envoy said today.

Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, told reporters in Nicosia after today’s meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu that there are outstanding core issues to be thrashed out on governance and power-sharing, property rights, territory and citizenship.

Those issues will be the focus of the 22-24 January talks at the Greentree Conference Center outside New York, Mr. Downer said.

“Obviously there are elements in all of those chapters which have been agreed,” he said. “But there is still in some cases quite a lot more work to be done and we really want to see that work done by the end” of the Greentree meeting, he added.

Mr. Downer said he was today due to have a meeting with Mr. Eroglu and confer with Mr. Christofias separately tomorrow before the two leaders meet again in Nicosia on Monday.

“We’ll be having meetings again with the two sides during the course of next week as well so it is going to be a busy couple of weeks ahead of us and perhaps into the third week. But certainly the next couple of weeks is going to be a busy time and we are very much looking forward to it.”

In response to a reporter’s question, Mr. Downer said the two leaders have produced draft outline papers on their visions of an agreement.

“We are having some discussions with them and [at] a certain point, pretty soon, in the next few days, they will exchange those papers,” he said.

The UN-facilitated talks began in 2008 with the aim of eventually setting up a federal government with a single international personality in a bi-zonal, bi-communal country, with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot constituent states of equal status.

The UN has maintained a peacekeeping mission (UNFICYP) in Cyprus since 1964 after an outbreak of inter-communal tensions.


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