UN urges Cyprus sides to accelerate the talks

UN urges Cyprus sides to accelerate the talks

The U.N. Security Council threw its weight behind a push by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to clinch a Cyprus deal on Dec. 14, urging the rival parties to speed up talks and be more constructive.

In a resolution extending the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Cyprus for a further seven months, the Security Council welcomed what it called “encouraging progress toward a comprehensive and durable settlement.” A senior Security Council diplomat said the purpose of the resolution was to put pressure on both parties.

“We have enough problems in the world without wasting our time talking about Cyprus, which is a pretty small issue strategically,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be identified, Reuters reported. “Left to their own devices, it’s quite clear that both sides would just still be talking in another 25 years.”

The diplomat said the aim was to get “bankable progress” before Cyprus took over the EU presidency, with agreement on the main issues and officials left to work out the details.

Ban expressed optimism that Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu were on their way to resolving long-standing differences. The resolution called on the leaders to “intensify the momentum of negotiations, engage in the process in a constructive and open manner and work on reaching convergences on the remaining core issues” in preparation for the summit near New York. It also demanded that they “improve the public atmosphere in which the negotiations are proceeding, including by focusing public messages on convergences and the way ahead and delivering more constructive and harmonized messages.”

Meanwhile, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said Turkey would not have direct contact with Greek Cyprus during its EU presidency because Turkey did not recognize the country. He said relations with other EU administrations would continue.
Çavuşoğlu also said he did not believe the EU would enter into a process that would reach a conclusion. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus on Dec. 13 to conclude their talks successfully in the coming months, Cyprus news agency reported.