UN Secretary-Generalís Special Advisor Downer Says Timetables for Cyprus Talks Not a Wise Idea
Athens, Dec 19 - UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer believes that it would not be wise to put a timetable before the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities with regard to the conclusion of the talks they are engaged in.
Speaking in Athens after a meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis, he also said that the Greek and the Turkish governments are encouraging the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus towards reaching a solution of the problem.
During their meeting, Mr. Downer and Ms. Bakoyiannis made an assessment of the course of the direct talks, which began in September this year aiming at a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. The two also discussed the prospects for 2009.
In his statements, Mr. Downer, who is visiting Athens after the contacts he had in Ankara with Turkey’s political leadership, said that he had a very good discussion with Ms. Bakoyiannis concerning the situation in Cyprus.
He mentioned that the two leaders in Cyprus continue their negotiations through their commitment to a solution.
It is a longstanding problem, a difficult problem, there is a long history and much sentiment for many of its aspects, Mr. Downer said, adding that “We can’t expect the solution to be a matter of few hours or days.”
Noting that “it is a difficult process which is evolving,” he said that he made it clear both to the Greek Foreign Minister and to Ankara yesterday that his opinion was that the two leaders should maintain the momentum in the process as best as they can.
He said that there would be a gap in time during the holiday period, noting that the two leaders have pledged to continue their talks in early January.
In response to a question, he said that he had the sense that the Turkish government is also committed towards reaching a solution.
“Both the Greek and the Turkish governments are encouraging the two leaders towards the direction of reaching a solution,” he noted.
Furthermore, he expressed the conviction that it is not wise to put a timetable before the leaders about the conclusion of the negotiations.
Referring to the UN role, he reiterated that it would continue to provide help, stressing that the solution of the problem should be for the people of Cyprus.
“The people of Cyprus will be asked to vote on the solution, if the negotiations are completed successfully,” Mr. Downer pointed out, adding that “it should be a just solution for both communities.”
In conclusion he said that he was in favor of reaching “a Cypriot solution” to the problem, reassuring that United Nations would do everything they can to help out.