UN’s Downer wants to toast Cyprus solution
ANKARA / TUNISThe Cyprus issue is among the most difficult diplomatic issues in the world, said a special U.N. adviser, adding that he would have a drink next to the Bosphorus when the problem is solved.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser for Cyprus, Alexander Downer said the Cyprus issue ranked along with the Kashmir and Palestine issues as the hardest in the world. The adviser also said the peace process in Cyprus was costly and that it had cost the U.N. roughly $10 million to 15 million since the island was divided. The U.N. does has no “Plan B” if Cyprus’ communal leaders cannot attain progress at critical upcoming talks in New York, Downer said while warning of a possible collapse in negotiations. Everybody should prepare for such a collapse, Downer said in a recent interview with daily Milliyet.
Downer urged Turkish and Greek Cypriots to agree to hold a multilateral conference following the Greentree meeting that will take place between Jan. 22 and 24. “There is no alternative to a federal solution” as the U.N. Security Council is working toward this solution, he said, adding that Greek Cypriot authorities should make every effort to reach a solution before they assume the EU presidency in June. Ban will notify the Security Council if the talks collapse, said Downer. Greek Cyprus will prevent Turkey’s accession to the EU if no solution can be found, he said.