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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-05-16

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon believes there has been encouraging progress in the UN-led Cyprus peace talks, but at the same time he calls for an increase in the pace of the talks to help achieve a comprehensive political settlement.

    In his report on the renewal of the mandate of UNFICYP (UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus) covering the past six months, submitted to the Security Council members, the Secretary General also says that the two community leaders have to sustain the momentum of the peace process.

    Ban calls for the opening of the Limnitis crossing point without further delay, on the northwest of the island, to facilitate movement between the islands northern Turkish occupied areas and the southern government controlled part of the country.

    The Secretary General reiterates his unwavering support for the peace process and expressed readiness to offer more assistance, if requested, while he recommends the renewal of UNFICYPs mandate for another six months.

    He welcomes the progress achieved in the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) to establish the fate of missing persons in Cyprus and describes the clearing of minefields in the buffer zone as an important CBM (confidence building measure).

    The Secretary General in his report, to circulate officially on Monday, notes that since his last report the parties maintained a steady rhythm of meetings, conducting the negotiations in a positive and constructive manner. The parties now move closer to the end of the first reading of the different issues, having recorded convergence on many points, adds.

    As I have said on previous occasions, this is of little surprise as the broad outline and established parameters of the solution are well known and already articulated by the two sides. Nor are they starting from scratch, but have the advantage of a significant body of work to draw upon, he adds.

    He points out that while areas of significant divergence may be fewer, most are nonetheless fundamental, reflecting the challenge of translating the agreed objective of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality into a functional united Cyprus, where legitimate interests are not only represented but also effectively pursued.

    My overall assessment is that while the parties have made steady progress, I see a need for an increase in the pace of the talks as the sides start to address issues more holistically. Indeed the parties themselves recognize that a settlement will be harder to reach as each day passes without a solution. They also acknowledge that the status quo is unacceptable and the process cannot be open-ended. The spirit of the negotiations and the constructive and open manner in which the two leaders are approaching the talks, demand that the solution should be achievable within a reasonable time frame.

    The UNSG notes the excellent personal chemistry between the two leaders which remains strong, despite as he says the challenges facing them both in the negotiations and domestically. Their often long one-on-one meetings prior to the plenary sessions are evidence of their mutual commitment and determination to see the process though. Together they have taken ownership of and full responsibility for the process. The challenge for them as partners and not adversaries is to sustain the momentum of the process that they have begun as they enter the next phase of the talks.

    The leaders close relationship has led to a lessening of the mutual public recriminations that were more prevalent in the past, he notes. At the same time he describes as discouraging that during the reporting period, polls have clearly shown a high level of skepticism among the respective populations towards the on going negotiations.

    Given that any eventual agreement will require popular support expressed through simultaneous referenda, it is imperative that the leaders develop strategies to actively communicate to their respective constituencies the economic, political, security related and many other benefits of a solution and that a solution will be impossible without compromise.

    Considering Confidence Building Measures, Ban Ki-Moon stresses that it is disappointing that the parties have made little progress on the implementation of nearly two dozen CBM agreed the preparatory phase of the talks. The apparent lack of political will to implement the agreed measures constitutes an opportunity missed in building public support within the communities for the process and creating an improved inter communal atmosphere crucial to a future united Cyprus.

    Military and other confidence building measures, such as the creation of crossings, including at Limnitis/Yesilamak, and the implementation of the second phase of the restoration of the Ledra street crossing, which UNDP stands ready to fund, would greatly contribute to an improvement in the atmosphere on the island. I call upon the parties to implement these measures without further delay, Ban says.

    The UNGS says further that the establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will impact positively on the ongoing efforts, noting that such contacts would not amount to recognition but rather nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities and help ease the sense of isolation felt by the Turkish Cypriots.


    President of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, has expressed his gratitude to Slovakia for the continuous support regarding the bicommunal dialogue of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties which began 20 years ago and continues to take place regularly in Nicosia.

    In a video address, during an event at the Slovak Foreign Ministry to mark 20 years of bicommunal dialogue, President Christofias expressed satisfaction for the fact that his party`s ideas and policy (AKEL) of rapprochement between the two communities in Cyprus has been materialised by then Ambassador of Czechoslovakia in 1989.

    The meetings, he noted, have become an institution and have been taking place regularly.

    ``These meetings have proved to be a useful tool for the relations of the parties and contributed decisively to the development of friendly relations between the participating parties``, President Christofias said.


    Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland Savvas continues his visit to Cyprus, as he tours several monasteries across the island. On Friday afternoon Metropolitan Savvas visited Makedonitissa Tomb (burial place of Greek soldiers and officers killed during 1974 Turkish invasion) and Enclaved Graves (burial place of Greek Cypriots killed during the anti-colonial struggle in the mid 50s) in Nicosia.

    After a briefing at Makedonitissa, Metropolitan said that the place is a symbol of heroism of the nations struggle for freedom.

    We firmly believe that the day will come when Cyprus will be completely free. We share, through our prayers, the pain for the occupied areas of the island, he said, referring to the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus. At the Enclaved Graves, the Metropolitan signed the visitors book: may the memory of these heroes, who died for their countrys freedom, live for ever.

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