Ban calls for ‘decisive moves’
UNITED NATIONS - Agence France-Presse
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (C) and his wife Yoo Soon-taek poses with Greek Cypriot leader Christofias (L) with his wife Elsie Christofias and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Eroğlu (2nd R) with his wife Meral Eroğlu prior to their meeting in New York.U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon Jan. 23 held intense talks with the leaders of Cyprus and called on them to make “decisive moves” to end the decades of separation, his special envoy said.
The two day meeting on a private estate in the New York suburbs is Ban’s fifth in three years with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu.
He has in the past warned the rivals that he could end U.N. efforts to broker a deal to end the division since 1974 unless they show more commitment to a solution. Ban spent about six hours with Christofias and Eroğlu “and I think the best way to describe the talks today is that they have been intensive right from the very beginning,” said Alexander Downer, the former Australian foreign minister who has been in charge of U.N. efforts to bring the two sides together.
He said there had been a “heavy focus” on three core issues -- how to govern any reunited Cyprus, property disputes and citizenship. “There is clearly still ground to cover in order to make for a successful outcome for this meeting and we look forward to a constructive day tomorrow,” Downer told reporters at the Greentree Estate.
“The secretary general made his expectations clear this morning that he is looking for the leaders to make decisive moves. He also reminded the two leaders that they must keep the big vision of a united Cyprus in their sights.”
The U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in Cyprus is one of its oldest and hopes are not high for an accord however. Going into the talks Christofias said it would take “a miracle” to make progress. “I am sorry to say that the conditions set by the secretary general for the achievement of convergences on the core issues of the Cyprus problem have not been implemented,” he told reporters.
The UN is maintaining pressure on the two however to make concessions and Ban has made it clear that time is running out for an accord in the short term as the Greek-Cypriot government takes over the European Union presidency from July 1.