|Friday, 23 February 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-03-20
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Cyprus government shares UNSG’s view on Cyprus negotiationsThe government of Cyprus shares the view of the UN Secretary General that the situation in the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement, and especially the discussion on the pending core issues, is a matter of concern, said Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou.
He pointed out however that progress can be achieved if the two sides exhibit good will and are consistent on the basis of a solution, just as the Greek Cypriot side is.
Commenting on the assessment report of the Secretary-General on the status of the negotiations in Cyprus, Stephanou referred to the SG’s position that he does not intend to impose solutions and that he does not refer to convening a multilateral conference, noting the situation of the talks does not allow room for such meeting.
“The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s report on the Cyprus issue is descriptive and does apportion responsibilities on the situation of the talks. The general spirit of the report is that the negotiations, and especially the discussion on the core issues which remain to be agreed, is a matter of concern, a fact that we share”.
Stephanou said that the situation “in our view, is due to the negative and slow paced stance which the Turkish stance maintains which does not allow achieving new convergences but on the contrary widens the distance between the two sides because it deviates from the agreed positions and does not maintain the commitments it has undertaken before the SG”.
The Cypriot Spokesman said that progress can be achieved if the two sides exhibit good will on the negotiating table. If they are consistent on the basis of a solution which is a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality, as described by the relevant UN resolutions, for a state with a single sovereignty, international personality and identity”.
He further said the Greek Cypriot side “is and remains consistent to the basis agreed by the two sides on 23 May and 1st July 2008”.
Stephanou said that our side “expresses its readiness to continue the negotiations, maintaining the same constructive stance it has exhibited during the negotiations. What is required to achieve progress in the negotiations is that the Turkish Cypriot side exhibits the same stance and cooperates for a solution, respecting UN resolutions and all that has been agreed by the two sides, something that unfortunately it has not done so far”.
He added that the international organization, exercising the role of the facilitator, should continue the effort for a solution to the Cyprus issue, on the basis of the agreed procedure and basis.
On the issue of the multilateral conference, Stephanou pointed out the recent Security Council resolution 2026 which clearly notes that such conference can only be convened to solve the international aspects of the problem, and with the agreement of both sides. In addition, Stephanou said, “our position is that a multilateral conference should be convened with the participation of the five permanent members of the SC, the EU and the guarantor powers of the Republic of Cyprus as well as the two communities”.
In his report, Ban provides an updated assessment of the state of the negotiations in Cyprus since his last report, of 8 August 2011, underlining that that from the outset, the United Nations has safeguarded the principle that this process is, and has always been, Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led.
He added that since August 2011, the leaders have maintained a steady schedule of direct talks.
Ban notes that at Greentree in October 2011, the two sides showed willingness to compromise and, as a result, moved closer on core issues relating to governance and power-sharing, citizenship, property and territory. Moreover, both before and at Greentree, the sides engaged in a paring-down process that resulted in focusing on what both sides term as the “core” issues: the election of the executive, the number of persons who would become citizens of a united Cyprus, and the basic design of a property regime”.
Stresssing that the leaders assured him at Greentree in October 2011 that they believed that they could finalize a deal, he invited them back to Greentree in January 2012 and both leaders had responded to a letter by Ban, reiterating their commitment to a solution.
“It was my expectation that decisive moves on the three “core” issues would be made at Greentree, adding to the considerable body of work already achieved by the two sides. However, while discussions at the meeting were robust and intensive, only limited progress was achieved”.
Ban said that regarding the “core” issues, the election of the executive remains at an impasse. With respect to citizenship, the sides have accepted an approach whereby an agreed number of persons from both sides would become citizens of a united Cyprus with the entry into force of a comprehensive agreement. On the issue of property, negotiations have arrived at the stage where the sides are exchanging data, which should assist them in reaching a common understanding based on their separate proposals.
“It is clear to both sides that full agreement on property will ultimately depend on the resolution of the question of territorial adjustment”, he remarked, adding that the two sides have agreed that maps and figures will be discussed only in the period leading up to the multilateral conference.
Ban said that another crucial issue that remains unresolved is precisely how a settlement would be incorporated into European Union law. Both sides have put forward proposals that attempt to address some of the concerns of the other side. However, to date, neither side has found the other’s proposals satisfactory.
Regarding the chapter of security and guarantees, internal aspects have largely been agreed, the SG said. The external aspects of security can be resolved only in discussions with the guarantor Powers, as signatories to the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance.
Ban also refers to the role of the civil society groups, noting that the UN continues to encourage civil society engagement in the process.
In this Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process, he stressed, “it is up to the leaders to take the negotiations to a successful conclusion. Accordingly, I have reassured them that the United Nations does not seek to impose solutions. At the same time, I have repeatedly expressed my point of view that the negotiations should not be open-ended; the longer the talks have been drawn out, the more disillusioned the public has become and the harder it has become to conclude agreements”.
He remarked that “at this advanced stage of the negotiations, it is important to recall that, since the start of the process, a significant number of convergences have been reached across various key chapters of the negotiations. As a Cypriot-led process, these achievements are entirely Cypriot-owned. At the moment, however, the negotiations on the “core” issues that remain to be agreed are close to deadlock. Despite the leaders’ repeated commitments to intensify the negotiations and push for a conclusion as soon as possible, the fact that there has been such limited movement towards convergence on core issues in recent months is a matter of concern”.
Ban said the “leaders must now make decisive moves that will demonstrate that agreement is indeed within their grasp. They must focus their efforts on resolving the outstanding challenges. There is no doubt that the political environment in which the negotiations are currently taking place has become increasingly difficult. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon the leaders to foster a more conducive atmosphere for the talks by refraining from engaging in negative rhetoric about each other and the process and by preserving the confidentiality of the talks. In addition to preserving the integrity of the process, decisive action in this regard would also contribute to building public confidence in its viability which, at present, is low”.
Concluding, Ban said “the time for an agreement is now. The domestic, regional and international context is constantly shifting. The current window of opportunity is not limitless and there is little to suggest that the future will bring more propitious circumstances for a settlement. The United Nations remains convinced that if the necessary political will could be mustered on both sides, a durable settlement could be achieved in the interests of all Cypriots. I have full confidence in the efforts of my Special Adviser, Alexander Downer, and his team to support such an outcome”.
 Downer: International conference to be held after core issues are agreedThere needs to be a resolution of differences on the core issues of the Cyprus problem, before calling an international conference, UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said after a meeting he had with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
Downer will be visiting Brussels on Friday to hold talks with European Commission officials as well as with the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey and the British Foreign Secretary in view of the preparation of his report to the Secretary General by the end of this month.
Asked, after his meeting with Christofias about the situation at the negotiations Downer said that they could be going better than they are going. He recalled that the UN Secretary General has asked him to produce a report for him by the end of this month. “I haven’t started doing it. I’ll do that next week, but it won’t take me long because I won’t write a very long report. I will have it finished by the end of next week and then I look forward to meeting with the Secretary General in April to talk about it and to work out the future course of the negotiations as far as the UN is concerned,” he noted.
He underlined that “this is a Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process. “That’s what both sides want here in Cyprus and we obviously respect and so ultimately the two sides carry the responsibility for the success or otherwise of the negotiations and we just do everything we can to help. So we’ll see what happens over the next ten days,” Downer noted.
He said he will be in Brussels on Friday, where he is hoping to be meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister, the Turkish Foreign Minister and the British Foreign Secretary as well as the European Commission. “That will be an opportunity to talk to them about where we are at in these talks and the prospects for the future,” he noted.
 Two new Ministers sworn inTwo new Cabinet Ministers were sworn in today, during the affirmation ceremony that took place at the Presidential Palace, in Nicosia, in the presence of the President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.
The Government Spokesman announced yesterday the President’s decision to reshuffle part of his Cabinet, after the decision of Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias to step down, due to health concerns.
Neoclis Sylikiotis was sworn in as the new Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, replacing Praxoula Antoniadou. Sylikiotis’ place at the Ministry of Interior is being taken up by former Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou.
Speaking during the ceremony, President Christofias said the new Ministers are assuming their responsibilities today and noted that the new composition of the Cabinet, which he described as “renewal”, will provide the necessary impetus to the government to continue seamlessly and efficiently its work, until the end of its mandate.
The President noted that the process will be completed next Friday, with the affirmation of the new Finance Minister.
According to yesterday’s announcement by the government, Kikis Kazamias will be replaced by Vasos Shiarlis, former banker and currently the Head of the Health and Insurance Organization.
 President Christofias congratulates VenizelosPresident of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has congratulated newly elected President of Greek party PASOK Evangelos Venizelos, and wished him every success in his new duties.
According to an official press release, President Christofias conveyed his congratulations to Venizelos during a telephone conversation on Monday evening.
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