UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said that the period ahead will be crucial for Cyprus and that time is of the essence, pointing out that the UN and himself “will do their utmost to promote a successful outcome”.


In remarks to the press following an hour and a half long meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in New York on Sunday, Ban described the meeting as productive, saying that they discussed the state of play in the ongoing negotiations to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.


“I commended both leaders for their remarkable efforts to date, and for the progress achieved. I very much welcome their joint commitment to intensify efforts even further, in line with their stated desire to achieve a comprehensive settlement in 2016. I encouraged both leaders to continue to engage in the process with determination, courage and creativity”, he pointed out.


The Secretary General also said that the leaders informed him that they intend to further intensify their negotiations upon their return to Cyprus, adding that “I urged them to make the most of this opportunity, in order to resolve their outstanding issues, without delay, in earnest”.


Ban also said that the leaders asked him to step up his personal engagement in the process and that he stands ready to support them in whatever they may require, including the international dimensions of the issue.


President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in peace talks under the UN aegis with a view to finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


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