Significant progress achieved in first round of talks, says Special Adviser of the UNSG for Cyprus, Alexander Downer
Nicosia, Aug 6 – The chapter of governance and executive power sharing will be the first issue the President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will discuss at the first meeting of the second round of the ongoing UN-led direct negotiations, on September 3, 2009.
Special Adviser of the United Nations’ Secretary-General (UNSG) for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, after the end of the 40th meeting of the leaders of the two communities, said that President Christofias and Mr. Talat asked him to say that “they are very pleased to announce that the first reading has been now completed. The meeting on August 6, 2009 was the last meeting of the first reading”.
President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader started direct talks on September 3, 2008. In their 40 meetings they have discussed six chapters: governance and power sharing, EU matters, security and guarantees, territory, property and economic matters, and writing down the agreed or disagreed issues.
Mr. Downer stressed that from the perspective of the UN, completion of the first reading “shows that there has been significant progress in these negotiations”. The second round will start September 3, 2009 after the break the two leaders will have.
The meeting on August 6, 2009 started with an hour and a half of tęte-ŕ-tęte meeting between the leaders of the two communities. The next half hour consisted of a full session with their delegations and UN representatives, discussing the issues relating to aliens, citizenship, immigration and asylum, Mr. Downer said.
''So, as I said the leaders will be moving from now onwards into the second reading, revisiting areas where there have been points of disagreement and addressing and endeavoring to resolve those differences,'' he added.
He announced also that Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou, the Turkish Cypriot leader’s adviser, Ozdil Nami and UNSG Special Representative in Cyprus, Tayee-Brook Zerihoun will be visiting the Limnitis area, on the north west, on August 10, 2009. The two leaders have agreed on June 26, 2009 to open the Limnitis crossing point in order to facilitate movement to and from the island’s northern Turkish occupied areas.
When asked about a suggestion by the Turkish Cypriot side to hold the second round of talks only at the leaders' level, Mr. Downer said that President Christofias and Mr. Talat will bring their representatives to the September 3, 2009 meeting.
“It is within the capacity of the leaders, should they wish, to allow their representatives to meet from time to time between the meetings of the leaders, to iron out other issues or do further work on the issues the leaders themselves have been discussing,'' he explained.