President Christofias and Mr. Downer discuss the second round of intensive talks
Nicosia, Jan 20 – The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has discussed with President Christofias, the second round of the intensive talks, which will be held next week, in the framework of the ongoing direct negotiation process, aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Mr. Downer also reiterated that he is cautiously optimistic about the talks.
Following his meeting with President Christofias in the Presidential Palace, Mr. Downer said that he had the opportunity to review the current stage of the negotiations with President Christofias, and that they also made preparations for next week's intensive talks.
When asked what should be expected from the second round of the intensive talks, Mr. Downer said: “I think it is important not to get into the details of this. We have been positive about the process of having two intensive rounds of talks and it is an opportunity for the leaders to spend three full days together again, as they did last week, to really concentrate on the governance and power sharing chapter, the economy, and the EU, and to see what they can agree on and see if they can continue to take the process forward,” he said.
Replying to a question regarding whether he is concerned about the future of the negotiations, Mr. Downer noted he did not want to make any predictions. “I have always said that I am cautiously optimistic that in the end the leaders will be able to negotiate an agreement. But it is, inevitably a time consuming work as you can see,” he added.
When asked about the Turkish proposals in the negotiations that had been described by the Greek Cypriot side as “unacceptable,” Mr. Downer said he did not want to get into an analysis of the different proposals put forward by the two sides.
“Both sides have their own interpretations about these things and make their public statements about them. It is really not for the UN to give a running commentary on these different proposals. It is ultimately up to Mr. Christofias what he thinks about the Turkish proposals and for him to discuss the broader issues with Mr. Talat. It depends how they want to handle it,” he said and added: “What we do is to encourage them to work in a constructive spirit and in a positive spirit and try to find their way through their disagreements towards greater convergence.”
Asked about the British Court of Appeal’s judgment in the case of Apostolides v Orams, Mr. Downer said that it underlies the importance of the negotiations.
“The British Court of Appeal is an irrefutably credible court, important court and this is a complex case, but the court has made its decision and it s a final decision and it should remind people of the importance of working as hard as possible to ensure that these negotiations are successfully concluded,” he added.
Finally, when asked if the UN Secretary General will visit Cyprus, Mr. Downer said there are now new developments, and that “there have been consultations in New York from time to time about this issue but there is no finality on that,” he said.