UN commends Cypriot leaders for their efforts in peace talks

UN commends Cypriot leaders for their efforts in peace talks

UN commends Cypriot leaders for their efforts in peace talks

Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, left, Secretary General of United Nations Ban Ki-moon, center, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, right, pose during a bilateral meeting at the 46th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. AP Photo

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has commended the two heads of the island of Cyprus for their “efforts and leadership” in peace talks on the divided island, adding that significant progress had been made in the negotiations. 

“I want to commend them for their efforts and leadership,” said Ban on Jan. 21 in Davos, where a trilateral meeting between him, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was held for the first time since talks to find a peaceful solution to the dispute on the island resumed in May 2015. 

“Significant progress has been made in this leader-led process over the past eight months, demonstrating that with political will, it is possible to reach an understanding on all issues,” Ban added. 

Ban said there were also “a number of sensitive and difficult issues” which still remained to be solved. He encouraged the leaders “to capitalize on the current positive momentum” and also continue working tirelessly towards finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue as soon as possible, for the benefit of all Cypriots.

“It will be crucial as they move forward to tackle outstanding issues across the different chapters,” Ban said, adding that he called on all interested parties to do their utmost to facilitate and support the leaders in their quest to overcome the division of Cyprus.

Hours before the trilateral meeting with Ban, the Cypriot leaders issued a joint address to the World Economic Forum, during which they said a peace deal could be possible in 2016. 

Turkish PM meets Ban

On the same day, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met with Ban for a conversation which ranged from Cyprus to the troubles in Syria and Iraq, the U.N. chief’s office said.

They discussed recent developments in Turkey and on the Cyprus peace process, while also touching upon international efforts to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), according to a U.N. readout of the meeting. 

“[Ban] thanked Turkey for hosting the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, which will take place in May 2016 in Istanbul,” the statement said.        

Biden talks with Anastasiades 

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Anastasiades on Jan. 21 on the sidelines of the Davos summit. 

‎The two leaders reaffirmed the strategic partnership ‎between Cyprus and the United States, according to a statement on meeting released by the White House. 

It said Biden had commended Anastasiades on the leadership he has shown in working with Akıncı to achieve “a reunified and more prosperous Cyprus.”