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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-08-08

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    In order to lift the tempo and achieve significant results, the two sides in Cyprus must engage in a more dynamic negotiating process and enter unequivocally into the next phase of the negotiations that would entail a comprehensive approach on all core issues and substantive trade-offs within and across chapters, UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon said in his draft assessment report on the status of the UN-led negotiations on the problem of Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Ban added that in order for a reinvigorated process to fully take root and be successful, other elements must also be present, stressing that the sides must work clearly within the agreed parameters of a solution, and work to reach a common, shared objective within those parameters. The leaders must desist from playing the blame game and each focus on what more they can do to pave the way for a solution.

    Noting that at the current pace, it is not likely that an agreement can be reached for quite some time, Ban said that these talks are taking longer than we had hoped and that progress continues to be far too slow. We have clearly reached a defining moment in the talks, when all efforts must be employed to keep the process viable and capable of delivering a mutually beneficial solution. I expect the two leaders to reach such a solution as soon as possible, he pointed out.

    He stressed that the key to solving the Cyprus issue is the two sides working with political will and determination towards the same clear and common objectives, with a united Cyprus as the end result. To re-unite Cyprus, there must be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with two equal constituent parts, with a single sovereignty and single international personality, as laid out in relevant Security Council resolutions, he noted.

    As he said by October 2011, when he will again be meeting the two leaders, the current negotiations will have been going on for over three years. It is well understood that time is definitely not on the side of a solution, and successive polling on citizens views in Cyprus has confirmed this all too clearly. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities deserve to be presented with a viable, mutually beneficial settlement proposal in the shortest time possible. The leaders must rise to the occasion, he pointed out.

    Ban noted that he has been concerned that the talks were beginning to drift with little tangible progress being made, adding that in his third meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on 7 July in Geneva, he reiterated his concern that progress was sluggish and discussed with the two leaders ways in which the situation could be addressed. Ban had also met with the two leaders in November 2010 and in January 2011.

    The leaders agreed to intensify the pace of negotiations, improve the methodology of the talks, and push for a conclusion as soon as possible. They also accepted to meet me again in October in New York, by which time I expect they will be able to report convergence on all core issues, he added.

    Ban noted that when he met the two leaders in Geneva on 7 July, he reiterated to them his continued belief that, with enough political will, a deal should be possible. He added that with the two leaders, I was able to identify some of the stumbling blocks that have stood in the way of reaching a comprehensive settlement thus far. We agreed on the need to significantly accelerate the pace of the talks and move into intensive negotiations and to focus on the core issues. In that regard, the leaders accepted my recommendation to engage in negotiations for two full days each week. We also agreed that, without prejudice to the central principle of a Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process, there would be enhanced UN involvement.

    Ban went on to say that the leaders accepted his invitation to meet again in October in New York, ``by which time I expect they will be able to report convergence on all core issues. This would take the Cyprus negotiations closer to their conclusion and would allow me to give a positive report to the Security Council on the matter. It would also pave the way for me to work with the parties towards convening a final, international conference. Both leaders made it clear that they will strive to reach a comprehensive solution as soon as possible, he said.

    Ban noted that in the five months since his last report, the rate of progress in the talks has slowed, despite the regularity of the meetings between the leaders and their representatives.

    As he said the leaders met 17 times and their representatives met 28 times during this period. Both sides continue to make efforts at putting forward bridging proposals, but the approach to achieving compromise has not always been productive or yielded results. A considerable amount of time has been spent in clarifying positions instead of moving towards convergences, he added.

    He went on to say that in late March, the sides began discussing the internal aspects of security. The discussions focused on policing and law enforcement arrangements in a united Cyprus at both the federal level and that of the federated units or constituent states. The sides have come close to agreement on the details of this issue, although several important outstanding aspects remain to be resolved, he added.

    With regard to property he said he was pleased that both sides made use of the international technical experts whose services he offered when he met with the leaders in Geneva in January. This has enabled each side to explore a range of technical issues and to further develop their proposals in this area. However, the return to formal negotiations on property is long overdue. There remains fundamental disagreement on the issue of conditions for restitution and the mode for exchange, he said.

    He noted that negotiations on the matter of territory should also be initiated as it remains one of the chapters least explored to date. This can be done without prejudice to the fact that both sides have agreed that the issue of maps and figures related to this chapter should be discussed only during the last phase of the process prior to a multilateral meeting, he said.

    As regards governance, he said that since his last report discussions focused on the capacity and procedure to conclude international treaties and the federal level decision-making procedure on foreign affairs, and led to convergence on the principle of representation abroad. Importantly, the sides reached agreement on international treaties binding on the united Cyprus. As a result, the Sub-committee on International Treaties has resumed and met twice, he noted.

    Ban went on to say that the important agreements on the economy that were reached before my last report remain in place. Nothing further was discussed in relation to the European Union in this period. The primary remaining divergence is on how the settlement agreement will be incorporated into European Union law in order to ensure its legal certainty.

    He said the issue of citizenship has not been discussed substantively since I met with the leaders in January. In response to the Greek Cypriot call for a demographic census, I made available the expertise of the United Nations in this area. The census process is only a related matter, however. While the census process is being carried out, the sides must resolve the core issue of who should be considered citizens of the united Cyprus, Ban noted.

    He added that the Technical Committees, established in 2008, continued to meet on the implementation of confidence-building measures intended to improve the daily lives of Cypriots. Three of the seven Technical Committees, that were dormant since July 2008, have now resumed their work, he said.

    Noting that according to the latest polls, while both communities are losing confidence in the possibility of a united Cyprus, their desire for a solution has not faltered, Ban said that UN agencies and programmes in Cyprus are working closely with local partners in support of the peace process.

    Ban said he was pleased with the demonstrated commitment of both sides in Geneva and that the leaders committed themselves to the endeavor of reaching convergences on all core issues by our next meeting in October. It is my hope that I can subsequently report their achievements to the Security Council and that, provided the necessary progress has been made by that time, we could then begin discussing the convening of a multilateral conference to conclude the international aspects of the agreement, he said.


    New Minister of Finance Kikis Kazamias has begun a round of contacts to discuss the first package of fiscal consolidation measures, which has been agreed on with the political parties and has been enriched.

    The purpose of the meetings is to achieve the broadest possible consensus and secure a unanimous vote of relevant laws at the end of the week, so that a positive message for the recovery of the economy is sent abroad.

    Kazamias told CNA today that the top priority of the first package of measures was to defuse the time bomb of the pension scheme.

    He said that he began contacts on Monday and would continue through Tuesday till Wednesday with meetings with the social partners, the trade unions and the parliamentary parties, which he was briefing on the intention of the Government to pass the first package of measures from the Council of Ministers on Wednesday afternoon and from the House of Representatives on Thursday or Friday.


    Turkeys refusal to cooperate with the EU and international aviation organizations causes concern about air safety to the Cypriot government and Brussels, according to the CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation SE Europe/Middle East/Cyprus (FSF-SEC) Christos Petrou. As he explained to CNA, there is a lack of communication between Nicosia and Ankara air-traffic control centres and interference in flights using Nicosia FIR by the illegal air traffic control centre in Cyprus northern Turkish occupied areas. Petrou assured however that Cypriot air traffic controllers, with long experience and expertise, are fully capable of dealing with the situation.

    Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus northern areas since they invaded in 1974, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since May 2004, and refuses point blank to have anything to do with the Republic.

    Invited to comment on press reports concerning confidential reports by international aviation authorities which warn of a high risk of accident in Cyprus airspace, Petrou said that this is a long-standing issue, noting that while international and European civil aviation organizations have tried to solve it, this was not possible due to the stance adopted by Turkey, which seeks recognition of the illegal air-traffic control centre in Cyprus occupied areas. At the same time, Petrou assured that Cypriot air-traffic controllers are experienced and are in control of the situation, adding however that those dealing with air transport, the EU, Eurocontrol and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are concerned about air safety.

    He said that Ankara has turned down recent initiatives to find a technical solution to this problem which would enable communication between Nicosia and Ankara air-traffic control centres with Eurocontrol acting as mediator, without violating international law. Petrou added that according to the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) in 2010, 950 incidents of violating air traffic rules in Nicosia FIR were recorded. He said that the Air Transport Association (IATA) is aware of this issue and the EU is aware of the number of these incidents.


    Generators, which have arrived from Greece to help increase electricity production following the destruction of Cyprus main power plant, provided on Monday the first 28 MW. In statements to CNA on behalf of the Energy Crisis Management Team, Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority President Giorgos Siammas said that today the first units from Greece produced 28 MW of electricity.

    Although they are still being tested, technically this is considered a feat since initial expectations anticipated production on August 15, he explained. Siammas congratulated the Cyprus Electricity Authority technical teams and the companies who brought the generators on their work. He also said that tests are ongoing until the rest of the units are operational. The units which arrived from Greece have a total production capacity of 70 MW.

    Thirteen people were killed and dozens were injured when a massive explosion occurred at the naval base, Evangelos Florakis, near Limassol, on the southern coast, in the early hours of July 11th. The blast badly damaged the islands main power plant, at Vasiliko, resulting in daily power cuts.

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