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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-04-18

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Technical committees and working groups comprising experts from the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, agreed by the two community leaders, begin work Monday with a view to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations towards a political settlement, that will reunite the country.

    ิhe UN hosted a brief ceremony to mark the occasion at the United Nations Protected Area in the capital Nicosia.

    Welcoming the heads of the six working groups and the seven technical committees, in the presence of the representatives of the leaders, George Iacovou and Ozdil Nami, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Elizabeth Spehar, presiding the event, stressed that today is another one of the many markers of progress towards reconciliation.

    We have said and heard much about the climate of optimism and the renewed hope for progress in this process. As you look in this room at the heads of the working groups and technical committees they are congregated here today now ready to start their work you see the reason for this optimism, Spehar said, noting that they are the evidence of the commitment and determination of Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to reach a comprehensive settlement and at the constructive attitude and perseverance of their two representatives who have met in the past weeks almost at a daily basis.

    She reiterated the UN position to do all that we can to help the two sides in their search for a mutually accepted solution, adding that the committees and groups will have a very practical focus as they discuss and seek convergence on a range of issues paving the way to fully fledged negotiations between the leaders.

    We hope that concrete results can be achieved in this process over the coming weeks that will provide sole basis for the two leaders to look forward, we hope that this will also lead the UN Secretary General to appoint a special envoy to accompany and support the two leaders in their negotiations, Spehar said, noting it has been an honor and a privilege for the UN to assist the Cyprus process.

    In his statement Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou said he was pleased to participate in the process, noting that working groups will deal with substantive issues of the Cyprus problem, while technical committees will deal with issues which affect the day to day life of the people of Cyprus.

    As I look to the coming week, I cannot but feel a sense of elation: I also feel a certain sense of history. Our work could be, and indeed we hope will be, the real beginning of a solution to the Cyprus problem, Iacovou stressed, noting that the two leaders expect us to develop ideas on which they can base their direct negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.

    He further conveyed a message to the team leaders noting that they have been chosen because of their expert knowledge of the subject matter, and for their political and other skills and urged them to regard their opposite numbers not in any kind of confrontational spirit but as fellow - workers with a common cause, having constantly in the mind the aim of producing usable results for the use of the two leaders and the Good of Cyprus as a whole.

    We shall then all be able to take pride in our contribution and our service to our country. We have as our common cause the long standing aim of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality as provided by SC Resolutions in a country of peace and prosperity for all its people, the Commissioner concluded.

    Adviser to the T/C leader Ozdil Nami said that todays ceremony demonstrates a successful beginning what could not be achieved in 20 months, has been achieved in 20 days during our talks with Mr. Iacovou and the participation of the UN and the result is six working groups and seven 7 technical committees with mutually agreed names and agendas.

    This was the easy part, our new challenge is much more ambitious. Together we have to achieve what has not been achieved in 44 years and reach a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue. To achieve this ambitious goal we will have to change our ways, we will have to think as a team and not as rivals. Learn to hear the interests while listening to positions, Nami said.

    He added that in the coming days, getting emotional, angry, intransigent will be luxuries we do not afford to have, noting that we would not be here today if there was no political will to move forward on both sides and a strong determined leadership.

    He also pointed out that we have the advantage of not starting from scratch as forty years of talks and negotiations have produced a series of proposals, agreements and plans, in short a UN body of work, adding that all these give as a strong base to move forward that will guide our work and enable us to deliver results without further delays.

    Concluding he wished every success to the committees and the groups, noting that the two leaders expect them to deliver results in less than three months so we dont have much time. Asked if it is possible to have fully fledged negotiations if no progress is made, Nami said it is well accepted that in order to have a meaningful negotiation progress is needed and desirable in working groups at least in some areas, where some kind of bridging hopefully will be established between the positions of the two sides.

    Iacovou in his response noted that according to the UN Security Council presidential statement a UN Cyprus envoy will be appointed if progress is made, noting that we should not be pessimistic but look forward with the ambition to have substantial results in the work that has been entrusted to us.

    He also noted that in practice it would be completely impossible to start substantial negotiations if progress is not made in this level as it is expected by the Secretary General as well.

    Responding to another question, Iacovou said that he expects that there are working groups which will proceed at greater speed towards consensus and other groups which could face difficulties.

    I dont think really you can say there will be progress and no progress, Iacovou said, noting that he expects there will be black, white and all shades of grey in the discussions at the technical committees and working groups.


    The Cypriot government has welcomed a statement on Cyprus, issued by the UN Security Council. Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that the government notes the commitment of the UNSC to the reunification of Cyprus on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation and political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions. The government also notes the Councils willingness to support the efforts of the Secretary General to this end.

    We also note that the prospect of the appointment of a UNSG Special Advisor, who will contribute to the efforts for a solution, will be based on the results of the preparatory process and the progress that will be achieved, he said.

    Stephanou stressed the governments political will to work hard so that the working groups and the technical committees, set up in order to prepare the ground for fully fledged negotiations, are productive and yield results.


    The government believes that society must prepare for a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution in Cyprus and efforts must be made to inform Cypriots about such a settlement. Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said today that society must know what a bizonal, bicommunal federation means not only theoretically, but also in practice.

    It is something we ought to do as a government and we will try to do just that, Stephanou said. President Christofias acknowledges that such a preparation, unfortunately, has never taken place and this is something that should be done, he added. The Government Spokesman also pointed out the solution of the Cyprus problem will change the everyday life of the citizens. For that reason, he noted, they have to be prepared.

    Stephanou was speaking as bicommunal committees began work today to discuss day to day concerns as well as important issues of the Cyprus question, with a view to prepare the ground for negotiations between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.

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