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United Nations Secretary General Assures of UN Interest to Reach a Cyprus Settlement the Soonest Possible
2008-07-13 11:24:13

Paris, Jul 13 - UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has assured Cyprus President Demetris Christofias of the UN interest to achieve a Cyprus settlement the soonest possible through negotiations by Cypriots for Cypriots.

On his part, President Christofias noted that the Greek Cypriot side wants to begin face to face talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat.

The Secretary General Ban and President Christofias met as they are both in the French capital to attend the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean. This was the first meeting between the two, after Mr. Christofias’ election to the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus in February 2008. In statements to the press after the meeting, Mr. Christofias described it as very warm, noting that the UN Secretary General reassured him that the process aiming to reach a Cyprus settlement belongs to the Cypriots and that the UN will play consistently and with objectivity the role of the facilitator in this process.

“This satisfies us,” Mr. Christofias added, noting that he stressed to the UN Secretary General the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to work hard with patience and insistence within the framework of principles determined by the UN resolutions for a Cyprus settlement.

“We have also reassured of our commitment for a settlement of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, that was assumed since 1977 and has been reconfirmed by all the Presidents of the Republic of Cyprus until today,” he added.

He also said the meeting satisfied him and that they agreed with the Secretary General to meet again in September when President Christofias will be in New York to represent the Republic of Cyprus at the United Nations General Assembly session.

Asked whether Mr. Ban Ki Moon has expressed his will for the beginning of direct talks, Mr. Christofias said that “he surely has expressed it and that is why he has appointed his special advisor,” referring to the appointment of former Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer as the Secretary General’s special adviser on the Cyprus problem.

He added that “it is our will as well to begin face to face negotiations with Mr. Talat and we will look into this issue when we return to Cyprus to make the final assessment of the work fulfilled by the working groups, with a view to see when and how we will begin the negotiations.”

President Christofias and Mr. Talat will meet for the fourth time on July 25. Working groups and technical committees were set up after their first meeting in March this year with a view to prepare the ground for direct fully fledged negotiations between the two sides, aiming to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

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