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President Christofias Briefs New UN Special Representative
2008-05-15 14:04:31

Nicosia, May 14 – President Demetris Christofias briefed the new UN Secretary General’s Special Representative, Tay-Brook Zerihoun, on the positions of the Greek Cypriot side regarding the Cyprus problem.

The UN official, who held his first meeting on Wednesday with the Cypriot President, was informed about “the positions of our side regarding the basis and the framework of the Cyprus solution,” Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said after a Cabinet meeting.

He added that President Christofias briefed Mr. Zerihoun on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue, in particular the discussions of bicommunal teams of experts - six working teams and seven technical committees began talks in April with a view to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations that would reunite Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

“We are right now in a process to reach common ground that will help create those conditions that will enable us to proceed with negotiations between the two leaders, to pave the way for a Cyprus solution,” he said.

The Spokesman reiterated that the basis of the solution should be a bicommunal, bizonal federation, based on the High Level Agreements 1977 and 1979, ''which provide for such a solution.''

“We discuss on the basis of the July 8th 2006 Agreement and the 21st March 2008 Agreement as well as on the basis of the principles of international and European law and of course on the basis of the UN resolutions,” the Spokesman explained. These agreements endorse previous decisions for a bizonal bicommunal federation.

Speaking after the 45-minute meeting, Mr. Zerihoun said he had “expressed to the President the good wishes of the Secretary General and reiterated the support of the UN for the process.”

Mr. Zerihoun comes to Cyprus from Sudan, where he served as the Secretary-General’s Principal Deputy Special Representative in the United Nations Mission in that country (UNMIS). Since joining the United Nations in March 1981, Mr. Zerihoun has worked on special political questions in different capacities and areas, including decolonization, trusteeship, conflict prevention and resolution, peace-making and peace-building.

Between 1995 and 2003, he served initially as Deputy and then Director of Africa I Division in the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), with responsibility for the countries of the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes and Southern Africa regions as well as regional organizations. He was then appointed Chairman of the Inter-departmental Task Force for Sudan (ITF) and served in that capacity until becoming Principal Deputy Special Representative with UNMIS.

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