Noting the “best efforts” of the Turkish Cypriot leader and the Greek Cypriot leader at the United Nations-brokered talks held recently in Switzerland, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged them to continue their efforts in line with their shared commitment to do their utmost in order to reach a settlement in 2016.
“Especially in a region and in a world marked by increasing tension, they must not let this historic opportunity slip,” said Mr. Ban, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
Providing an updated on about the outcome of the talks that took place earlier this month between the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akýncý, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, in Switzerland's Mont Pèlerin. The talks did not yield the desired results regarding agreement on the criteria for territorial adjustment and the two leaders decided that they would return to Cyprus to reflect on the way forward.
Also, on the night of 21 November, thousands of people from both communities had gathered in the buffer zone in Nicosia in support of the leaders' shared vision of a united homeland.
“The Secretary-General is confident of the leaders' continued desire to deliver on these expectations with a mutually beneficial solution. Cypriots deserve nothing less,” added the statement, noting that significant progress was made across chapters over the past eighteen months.
“They should continue to build upon their substantial achievements,” said Mr. Ban.
Also in the statement, Mr. Ban reiterated his full support as well as of the UN's commitment to assist the two leaders in reaching their shared goal, while respecting that the future of Cyprus will be determined by Cypriots, for all Cypriots.
He added that he will be in contact with both leaders soon to discuss the next steps.
The UN chief also urged all interested parties to avoid any statements and actions that would make the resumption of talks more difficult and reminded them that “temporary set-backs are not uncommon in peace processes as talks approach a final stage.”
Mr. Ban also called upon all interested parties, especially the guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, to do their utmost to support the two leaders during the coming days and weeks, which, he said “will be crucial for the negotiations and the future of Cyprus.”
Later in the day, the Secretary-General spoke separately by phone with the two leaders, calling on both to reflect on the situation following the impasse they had reached and to carefully consider the next steps in order to bring the process back on track.
According to a readout of the phone calls, the Secretary-General emphasized that it was not uncommon for peace processes to be confronted with crises, particularly at the last difficult stretch. Mr. Ban encouraged Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akýncý to rise above the mounting pressures and be courageous in overcoming the challenges.
The Secretary-General, according to the readout, recalled the common determination and vision both leaders shared when he met them at the opening of the first round of the talks at Mont Pelerin, Switzerland on 7 November. He encouraged Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akýncý to continue the negotiations and strive to achieve an agreement this year for the sake of future generations.
The Secretary-General offered his good offices to assist in any way the two leaders wish in order to move the peace process forward.