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President Christofias and Mr. Talat Outline Criteria for Property Issue
2009-02-13 14:16:56

Nicosia, Feb 12 - The leaders of the two communities of Cyprus presented on Thursday their positions on the criteria for a settlement of the issue of properties they discuss in the framework of their direct talks, aiming to reach a settlement of the Cyprus question, UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus Alexander Downer has said.

In statements after the 19th meeting between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in the framework of the UN-led direct negotiations, Mr. Downer added that the discussion on the property issue will continue next Thursday.

Asked if there was any agreement on the criteria, he said that this is a very early stage of the discussions. “They have a way to go, of course, not surprisingly. As I have always said these are difficult issues and they are not going to be resolved in one meeting like that,” he added.

Replying to a question on the UN team of experts, Mr. Downer said that it is very important for himself and the people working with him to have a good understanding of the issues.

“So we of course are able under the budget of the United Nations to draw on people who are able to ensure that in particularly I understand all the international precedents and approaches that have been taken to these types of issues,” Mr. Downer said.

He noted that “we have had an academic who has been helping us, he comes from a Canadian University - I think the University of Western Ontario. He is able to give me assistance and guidance on constitutional matters because that is what he is an expert on.”

“Through this process we will draw on people who are renowned experts to help me and to help the United Nations team to make sure that we fully understand,” the UN diplomat noted, adding that “everybody in this process needs to be on top of all the details and understand the issues, so that is really what it is about.”

“As I have said all along, our role is not to write a settlement to the Cyprus problem. Our role is to be as helpful as we can and for the people of Cyprus in the end to make the decisions about any settlement that they may agree,” Mr. Downer added.

Responding to another question, Mr. Downer said President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader know each other well and have a very good personal relationship, and that is reflected in the meetings, adding that this was reflected in yesterday’s meeting also.

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