UN warns of deadlock in Cyprus negotiations

UN warns of deadlock in Cyprus negotiations

UN warns of deadlock in Cyprus negotiations

Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias (L),Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu (R) and UN envoy Alexander Downer (C) poses before dining together in Pyla on Jan. 5. AA photo

Cypriot leaders Derviş Eroğlu and Demetris Christofias hosted a dinner Jan. 5 for U.N. officials in Pyla as they faced growing pressure to make progress in reunification talks.

U.N. envoy Alexander Downer said no agreement on all the core issues by Jan. 22 would mean a deadlock in the discussions, prompting a U.N. rethink of the process.

“Can the compromises be found or can’t they? It’s as simple as that,” Downer said after another Eroğlu-Christofias meeting at the disused Nicosia airport serving as U.N. headquarters in the divided capital. “Well, you don’t necessarily need, in theory, a lot of time to do that. You need to make compromises.”

Downer said leaders have until their meeting with the U.N. chief between Jan. 22 and 24 to agree on several “core” issues. Those issues include how to share power under an envisioned federation and what do to with property. Downer also stated a deal is not out of the leaders’ reach as long as they “demonstrate some determination.”

The gathering in Pyla comes ahead of a crucial session with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York later this month. Accompanied by their wives, Turkish Cypriot President Eroğlu and Greek Cypriot President Christofias braved midwinter drizzle to greet villagers and exchange New Year’s wishes in the village square before sitting down for a meal at a Greek Cypriot fish tavern, followed by coffee at a Turkish Cypriot cafe.

Straddling the U.N.-controlled buffer zone in the island’s southeast, Pyla remains the only village where Greek and Turkish Cypriots have continued to live together since 1974. “We hope that we will strike a deal in 2012. However, the Turkish side’s positive attitude toward the issue is not enough; the Greek side’s positive steps are needed,” Eroğlu said.

Eroğlu has warned he would walk away from any peace talks if there were no deal by July giving Turkish Cypriots a voice in how the EU presidency is run. Turkey has also said it would suspend its relations with the EU if the island were to take over the bloc’s presidency.

Compiled from AP and AA stories by the Daily News staff.