Cyprus Talks – “Ban Ki-moon made no mention of any deadlines”

NICOSIA, January 26 — A UN-sponsored meeting between the two Cypriot leaders in Geneva had reportedly seen limited progress in finding a solution to the decades-long Cyprus problem, according to a UN statement issued here on Wednesday.

deadlinePresident Demetris Christofias, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in four hours of talks yesterday at the UN’s Geneva base to survey progress since the last meeting with him in New York in November 2010.

In a statement released by the UN office in Nicosia, Ban Ki-Moon refrained from reporting specific progress on outstanding issues. His statement merely outlined that since the New York meeting the two leaders have worked to move closer together through a range of bridging proposals on outstanding issues.

“Nonetheless, more work must be done to reach further convergences on the outstanding core issues,” the UN Secretary Gerneral said.

He added that there were “spirited and substantive” discussions which contributed to clearing the air on several key issues.

Ban said the leaders talked about outstanding key issues in a more interrelated fashion, a reference to a Greek Cypriot proposal to move forward in the negotiations by discussing more than one issues simultaneously. This process mainly involves the extent of occupied territory to be returned by Turkey and the rights on properties abandoned by Greek Cypriots.

A television station reported that during the meeting the Turkish Cypriot leader asked for a deadline to conclude negotiations one way or another by the end of March.

Ban Ki-moon made no mention of any deadlines, but he said the sides have agreed to intensify the negotiations through a series of extra meetings in the next few weeks.

However,the Secretary General made a plea for urgency for the talks to move forward at a quicker pace.

“As recent surveys have shown, both communities in Cyprus want more than talks: they want a solution. The leaders have heard that message and they are acting,” Ban said.

(I just wonder which surveys he’s been seeing. The reports I have read send a completely different message.)

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