The UN expect from the two leaders in Cyprus in their meeting with Secretary General in Geneva on July 7, a clear way forward to concluding the negotiations, UN SG’s Special Adviser Alexander Downer has said, adding that at the moment “we are canvassing their views on how they think this can be done”.

Speaking here Wednesday after a meeting with President Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace, Downer said that they had a good conversation about the discussion that has been taking place over the past few week and about the way forward.

“We are looking forward to the meeting on the 7th of July with the Secretary General and obviously these days we want to get the views of the two sides about how they’d like that meeting to progress. The Secretary General has its own views as well and we want to talk to them about that”, he said.

Downer noted that part of the discussion the UN would like to have at the moment is about the mutual convergences at some of the areas that have been discussed recently. He said that these discussions have been promising, and added that the UN would like to see what they can do to make the 7th of July meeting a success.

Asked if the UN have finalized the agenda of the meeting, Downer said they had not. “We still need to see where the leaders get to in terms of their discussion of the issues which are currently before them, but also to talk to the two sides and have a really good understanding of their thinking on how the meeting could work”, he said, adding that he also needs to talk with the Secretary General about what he would like to do. “We had some preliminary discussions with the Secretary General but we need to place all these together over the next month”, he said.

Replying to a question regarding the importance of that meeting for the future of the negotiations, Alexander Downer stressed that the July the 7th meeting will be a very important meeting. He added that both sides know very well until now what the differences are, they have been through all of the issues and they have a pretty clear understanding of each other’s positions and they are certainly still coming up with bridging proposals from time to time. He pointed out that the Greek Cypriots have come up with a bridging proposal recently, noting that both sides need to keep doing that.

Asked if a final settlement is possible before Cyprus assumes the EU Presidency, in the second half of 2012, Downer was clear: “Of course it is possible, but whether it will happen nobody could answer that question”. He also said that every effort needs to be made, noting that both Christofias and Eroglu (Turkish Cypriot leader) have said that they want the agreement before the EU Presidency.

Downer said that the UN expect in a very broad sense a clear way forward to concluding the negotiations. “At the moment we are canvassing their views on how they think this can be done and they need to talk with each other -Christofias and Eroglu- about how to handle this.”

Replying to a question regarding a possible international conference on Cyprus, Downer said that the Greek Cypriot side has made it very clear that the internal issues have to be largely dealt with by the time one gets to an international conference. “That makes their position very clear on that, I don’t think the international conference is going to happen very soon but is generally accepted that there are international issues that need to be dealt with in an international conference and the Turkish Cypriot side has a more expansive vision on the international conference”, he added.

UN-backed peace talks began in September 2008 to find a negotiated settlement that would reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Leave a Reply