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UNSG Special Advisor for Cyprus Alexander Downer Says Latest Meeting Between the Two Leaders Has Been Productive
2008-10-10 14:14:07

Nicosia, Oct 10 - The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, who met Friday in the context of direct negotiations aiming at reaching a solution of the Cyprus problem, discussed the issue of the powers of the federal government and made progress, the top UN envoy on Cyprus said here today.

Alexander Downer, UN Secretary General’s special adviser for Cyprus, made this statement after today’s meeting between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Downer and UNSG’s Special Representative in Cyprus Taye-Brook Zerihoun attended the meeting.

Mr. Downer said the leaders’ meeting was productive and they agreed to meet on a weekly basis.

The next meeting between Christofias and Talat will take place on Monday.

Before today’s meeting, the two leaders had a one-hour private meeting.

Working groups, representatives and experts will meet according to the instructions of the leaders as needed, Mr. Downer added.

“The leaders had further discussions today on the powers of the federal government and they made progress. They also began discussions about the structure of the federal executive. Both sides made proposals and those discussions will continue next Monday,” he continued.

Mr. Downer, a former Australian Foreign Minister, expressed the view that it is very important that the leaders are given plenty of space in order to continue their work.

“And it is important that all commentators in the media bear this in mind. This is a very important negotiation for the future of Cyprus and the leaders will need a lot of space in order to conduct those negotiations,” he said.

Replying to a question, Mr. Downer said that there have been no meetings in the past couple of weeks due to several reasons, but noted the leaders’ wish to meet on a weekly basis, to keep the momentum of the progress going.

“There haven’t been meetings as you know for one reason or another. In the case of Mr. Christofias he has been in New York to the UN General Assembly, and political leaders do go to the General Assembly, and there have been meetings in the Council of Europe and so on, so there have been reasons for them not meeting in the past couple of weeks,” he said.

Mr. Downer added that “both leaders do want to emphasize that they wish to meet on a weekly basis to keep the momentum of the process going.”

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