Ban Ki-moon and Talat’s luncheon together

After Sunday’s banquet with President Christofias, President Talat had lunch on Monday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon where he delivered the following speech:

I, my wife, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the leaders of the Political Parties that are represented in the Parliament would like to extend our warmest welcome to H.E. Secretary General Ban, Madam Ban and the members of the UN delegation

We are indeed honored to welcome H.E. Ban today. His visit clearly demonstrates the continued interest of the international community to bring the Cyprus issue to a mutually acceptable solution and reinforces our commitment to achieve this goal without further delay.

Your Excellency,

Turkish Cypriot people have long suffered from a conflict that started almost half a century ago. Just three years after the establishment of the 1960 partnership Republic we have been ousted from the government by force by Greek Cypriots. These attacks reached their climax in 1974 when a coup d’état was attempted to annex the island with Greece. Our very existence was saved only when Turkey, invoking her rights and obligations under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, intervened through the Peace Operation.

Turkish Cypriots suffered from what happened from 1963 to 1974. Our goal now is to establish a new partnership state in Cyprus that will ensure that the bitter experiences of the past will not repeat. The structure of this partnership has been well defined in the past and more recently by the 23rd May 2008 Joint Statement between the two Leaders which states that our goal is to establish a bi-zonal bi-communal partnership with political equality between Turkish and Greek Cypriots and that this partnership will have a Federal Government with single international identity as well as a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State of equal status.

Our efforts have since been concentrated on how to build this Federal structure. The full fledged negotiations of the past year and a half had produced significant convergences in some aspects of the problem, yet some other crucial issues remain. Yet the recent two rounds of intensified talks were productive and I hope we agree on their continuation.

Your Excellency,

As you well know, the 2004 UN Comprehensive settlement plan was supported by the whole international community. The UN, the EU and motherlands Turkey and Greece were all in favor of its acceptance. Until attaining unilateral EU membership so was the Greek Cypriot leadership. Turkish Cypriot people by exercising their free democratic will in their own referendum overwhelmingly said “Yes” to this UN plan but the Greek Cypriot resounding “No” prevented the solution. Today we are still faced with inhumane isolations despite the call for its end by the UN Secretary General, despite the 26 April 2004 decision of the EU Council, despite the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, decision of the Organization of Islamic Conference and the others. This is simply unacceptable. We expect much more from the international community. We can not be held responsible for the Greek Cypriot “No” while they enjoy all the benefits of international recognition and EU membership.

Mr. Secretary General,

Time is working against the settlement. External developments like court cases as well as growing disillusionment among Turkish and Greek Cypriots make the solution more complex and difficult to attain. Therefore we need an urgent solution. I am ready to shoulder my responsibility to achieve this goal and am confident that we will have your continued support in this endeavor. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank your Special Advisor and the whole UN team in Cyprus for their invaluable contributions in this effort.

Your Excellency and Mrs. Ban,

I would once again like to welcome you and raise my glass for your well being and wish that 2010 will be the year of solution.

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