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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-04-27
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 UNSG's ambition is to call a peace conference in the summerUN Secretary General Ban Ki moon`s ambition is to call a multilateral conference on Cyprus in the summer in order to conclude the final phase of the negotiations, Ban`s Special Representative in Cyprus Alexander Downer said here Friday, adding that for this to happen the two sides need to agree on the way forward.
Downer noted that the UN will engage over the next couple of weeks in shuttle diplomacy between the two sides to negotiate the way forward and the precise way in which matters should be handled.
Speaking at a press conference in Nicosia, Downer recalled that the aim of these talks has been to reach a comprehensive settlement based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions.
He reiterated that this is a Cypriot owned and Cypriot led process, adding that since the beginning of the talks in September 2008 a significant number of convergences has been reached across the chapters of the negotiations, but "it is clear to me and to both leaders" that the negotiations have recently come to a standstill.
Referring to his meeting last week with the Secretary General in New York, Downer said that they discussed this assessment of the state of the negotiations, adding that following this meeting the Secretary General called both leaders and told them that he was very disappointed that the sides had not progressed as he would have hoped and that it is clear that something has to change.
Downer also referred to the meeting the two leaders had in Greentree with the UNSG earlier this year, noting that only limited progress was made, adding that the meetings of the sides held since January have still not solved these problems.
He noted that the food for thought ideas that the UN has put forward has been welcomed by both sides but the sides have yet to achieve a common understanding on property despite several months of work.
Downer said that there have also been significant differences on the issue of the executive power where the Greek Cypriot side has insisted that Christofias reached an agreement with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on cross voting in 2010. However, as he noted, Eroglu says this agreement was not concluded and he has been opposed to cross voting. "Recently Mr. Eroglu wrote to the Secretary General suggesting that he would accept cross voting in the context of a multi-lateral conference", he said adding that this has been acknowledged by the Secretary General.
Downer stressed that there is no doubt that there will only be a settlement if common ground is shared between the two sides. "We all need to face the facts. Given all these, the Secretary General and I have discussed a series of options as far as the next steps in the talks are concerned. As he informed both leaders he has concluded that there has not been sufficient progress on the core issues on this stage to call a multilateral conference", Downer said.
He noted that obviously the SG ``is not in favour of calling a conference that would be a failure``, adding that while the Turkish Cypriots have been anxious to go for a multilateral conference as soon as possible, the Greek Cypriot side has said that all internal issues need to be resolved before a multilateral conference is held.
He added that during his separate meetings today with both leaders, he discussed with them the SG's thoughts and that he explained to the leaders that "there could be no more business as usual".
"The Secretary General appreciates that both leaders have wanted to conclude an agreement as least on core issues by the time Cyprus takes over the Presidency of the European Union. It certainly remains the Secretary General's ambition to call a multilateral conference in the summer in order to conclude the final phase of the negotiations", he said.
However, he continued, for this to happen the two sides need to agree on the way forward. "The UN will, over the next couple of weeks, engage in shuttle diplomacy between the two sides to negotiate the way forward and the precise way in which these matters should be handled", he noted.
He pointed out that in the meantime the UN does not see any value in scheduling leaders' meetings unless there is a clear indication from both sides that there is something substantial they wish to conclude at a leaders' meeting.
"The Secretary General has told the sides that it is never too late for bold and decisive moves and new ideas or innovative proposals. But, if none are taken then obviously they will not be further convergences on core issues", he stated.
Downer also underlined that this is not the time to get into some unconstructive and negative blame game.
He noted that this process is Cypriot-led and Cypriot –owned and that the UN is only here to help. He added that in the end the UN could never want this agreement more than the two sides. "If the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders cannot agree with each other on a model for a united Cyprus then we cannot make them", he said.
Responding to questions, Downer said that the Secretary General would like to convene a multilateral conference during this summer and conclude the final phase of the negotiations "but we want to engage with the two sides on the modalities of the way forward and so the UN team will engage in shuttle diplomacy between the two sides in order to work out precisely the details of the way forward from here".
Downer reiterated that the process is Cypriot owned and Cypriot led. "We can't make them do anything. So, that would be very much up to them whether they think that the UN should play a different role to help the process. But, it is clear that there is a general view that a multilateral conference would be good to hold and to hold that in the summer would be constructive. We need to have in place the right modalities in order to get to that point and the right modalities to take this forward in more general and broader terms", he added.
Asked about the Turkish Cypriot side's position to stop the negotiations on July 1st when Cyprus will assume the EU Presidency, Downer said that both sides will have to look at the modalities of how this issue is negotiated over the weeks again.
He noted that many things can be said about timelines as the EU Cypriot Presidency, summer holidays of August and the pre-election campaign at the end of the year, adding that he does not know if President Christofias will run for election again in February 2013 but either way there will be an election and "that is a point of time which is important."
Replying to a question whether is fair the owner of the property not to have the right to return back, bearing in mind the UN resolutions and the decisions of the ECHR, Downer said that this is not a matter for the UN. "That's a matter for the negotiations for the two sides. That is obviously one of the issues that have been discussed in debates in the context of the property issue. The Annan plan had a particular series of proposals in the question of property. This time the two sides have been talking about somewhat a different approach but that hasn't been concluded yet. I am not trying to impose anything on them. That is something they need to negotiate to the satisfaction of both sides", he added.
Responding to another question, he said he would be away for the next two weeks and that "the UN team will be here backwards and forwards between the two sides to hear their views and to see what we do and they would like to do. I have a sense of course of what they would like to do and I've obviously passed on to the leaders some aspects of the SG's thinking as well. But of course the SG isn't there to decide exactly on the modalities. This is something for the two sides to decide. I think we just have to hear what they have to say and see what can be worked out and when I get back I'll talk to the talks sides myself", he said.
To a question regarding the so-called isolation of Turkish Cypriots, Downer said that this is one of the issues that has been fiercely debated between the two sides, adding that this debate will come to an end if there is a comprehensive settlement.
Downer also noted that the UN does not take sides but tries to give a realistic assessment of the situation as it is, adding that he does not think that anyone wants to keep business going as usual.
He added that not business as usual means, "let's convene a meeting when there is something real substantial to discuss, a preparatory work has been properly done and we think the leaders can conclude a convergence or an agreement on that meeting".
Asked if he believes that the two leaders still have the will for a solution, Downer said that they both told him they do. He added that people are all in favour of a solution, but the question is whether they are in favour of the same solution.
Asked if it will be the end of the procedure if these efforts fail, Downer said that "we ourselves think that it is important to respect Security Council resolutions and the will of the Security Council to see a solution to the Cyprus problem".
 FM holds talks with Andorran counterpartBilateral relations, the Cyprus issue and Cyprus' EU Presidency which begins July 1st, were the main issues on the agenda of the talks the Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis had on Friday with her Andorran counterpart Gilbert Saboya Sunye in Nicosia.
Speaking during a joint press conference, Markoullis expressed her gratitude for Andorra's principle stance as regards the Cyprus issue and the human rights' situation in Cyprus, noting also that Andorra takes over Presidency of the Council of Europe in the following months. Cypriot FM said that Andorra and Cyprus, being small countries, they came to understand and appreciate each other's concerns and problems but also the prospects for cooperation.
During the talks, FM briefed her counterpart on the upcoming Cyprus' EU Presidency, stressing that "we discussed possible ways of intensifying our cooperation and how we can be helpful in the process of finding a new institutional framework in the relations between the EU and Andorra".
She said that Cyprus wishes to be "as helpful as possible in this particular issue," adding that there will close cooperation between the governments but also in Brussels. Markoullis and Sunye also discussed the promotion of bilateral cooperation in other areas and according to Cypriot FM, there was a proposal on behalf of Andorra on sending a delegation to Cyprus in the next period "in order to share our experiences in different fields".
 Hoyer: EIB is ready to help CyprusPresident of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer has sent the message that EIS is ready to help Cyprus to these difficult economic times that is going through.
Hoyer, who is paying a visit to Cyprus, accompanied by Cyprus Finance Minister Vasos Sharly, was received on Friday afternoon by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias.
Speaking after the meeting, Hoyer said that the European Investment Bank has been active in Cyprus and bringing activity to the real economy, to bring funds to the real economy for more than 30 years. "And in these times of need and of economic difficulties it is, of course, necessary to be present in one of those countries who own us, because the EIB is the long term Investment Bank of the member states of the EU. It is the 27 who are our shareholders and of course Cyprus is included", he added.
Hoyer noted that his visit to the island has an additional meaning because Cyprus is taking over the Presidency of the EU in a few weeks and, as he pointed out, "in the next six months I am going to serve under the guidance of the Cypriot Finance Minister.
The President of the EIB said that during his meeting with President Christofias, they had very good talks about the challenges that go along with the Presidency of the EU. "We had very good talks about the international, economic and financial situation. We talked about the Banking system of this country and the challenges that need to be met, we talked about future business opportunities and cooperation between Cyprus and the EU Bank and we talked about the fascinating perspectives that develop in the field of energy both in terms of gas and in terms of new energies and energy efficiencies", he added.
 Labour Minister holds meetings in Brussels and DenmarkThe Minster of Labour and Social Insurance Sotiroula Charalambous held a series of contacts with EU officials and her counterparts from various EU member states in Brussels and Denmark, in the framework of Cyprus' preparations ahead of its EU Presidency term, in the second term of 2012.
Charalambous met with Laszlo Andor, Commissioner responsible for employment, social affairs and inclusion, and her counterparts from the UK and Ireland.
Additionally she held meetings with representatives of European Parliament political groups and MEPs, members of the EP committees on Employment, Gender Equality and Women's Rights, as well as with the European Economic and Social Committee President Staffan Nilsson.
Charalambous informed her interlocutors on the Ministry's priorities during Cyprus' EU Presidency term and on the informal Council of Ministers on Employment and Social Policy (EPSCO), to take place in Nicosia, on July 12 and 13. The informal Council will discuss ways to enhance the participation of Local Authorities, NGOs and stakeholders in the implementation of the "Europe 2020" strategy goals.
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