Ban seeks momentum in Cyprus negotiations

Ban seeks momentum in Cyprus negotiations

Ban seeks momentum in Cyprus negotiations

UN chief Ban Ki-moon (C) shakes hands with Cyprus leaders. Ban’s special envoy Alexander Downer will go to the island on Sept. 19 for talks with leaders. AFP Photo

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has sent a letter to Cypriot leaders, calling them to continue cooperation to keep up the momentum in the ongoing reunification talks.

According to Greek Cypriot media reports, Ban sent letters in response to a letter sent by Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias on July 1. “I acknowledge that there is no common understanding on how to proceed, so negotiations are not continuing,” the letter read.

Message from Britain

“I appreciate the works of technical commissions in recent months, but this is not enough for a solution,” Ban wrote in his response, according to Anatolia news agency. The U.N. Secretary General’s special envoy Alexander Downer will also go to the island on Sept. 19 and will hold separate meetings with both leaders on Sept. 20.

Meanwhile, Britain said it hoped the discovery of valuable gas fields around Cyprus would eventually help unite the island’s ethnically-divided communities, after decades of diplomacy had failed to clinch a peace deal. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the prospect of sharing the resources could persuade politicians to end the bitter dispute between Turkish and Greek Cypriots on the island, Reuters reported.

“We have supported the rights of Cyprus to develop resources, but I hope that doing so can somehow be an incentive for the settlement of the problem, rather than a disincentive,” Hague told reporters in Nicosia.