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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-05-20

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Athens, May 20 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer has said on Wednesday he is cautiously optimistic about the outcome of ongoing negotiations on the Cyprus problem, noting that the important thing is to keep the momentum of the negotiations going.

    In statements after a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni, Downer said that the leaders of the two communities, who have been engaged in UN-led negotiations since September 2008, ``don`t think they want to be stuck with a specific timetable,`` adding that ``they just need to keep the momentum of the negotiations going, and thats the important thing.``

    ``If they have a too strict timetable then they could become prisoners of a timetable which is too strict. But on the other hand, if they dont maintain the momentum of the process, well, then the process will atrophy and gradually die. So the important thing is to keep the process going,`` he remarked.

    As regards his contacts with the Turkish government earlier this week and with the Greek FM today, Downer said ``there is no doubt that Greece and Turkey would like to see an agreement here, and its important that the international community more broadly continues to support an agreement in Cyprus,`` adding ``the international community is very strongly of that view.``

    He however went on to say that ``nobody should have any illusions`` for an easy Cyprus solution. ``Its not going to be an easy problem to solve, but I think they are making progress and I think we have every reason to be cautiously optimistic about it,`` he added.

    Replying to question on the ongoing process, Downer said that Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are currently undergoing the first reading of the six aspects of the Cyprus problem, as defined in the preparatory talks. So far they concluded the first reading on governance and power-sharing, property, EU matters and they are currently discussing Economy. Downer added that once the first reading is completed, the leaders wil revisit the issues in a second reading.

    Christofias and Talat will hold a new meeting on Thursday.

    On the ``election`` of Dervis Eroglu, a nationalistic party leader to the ``prime ministry`` in the areas of Cyprus occupied since the 1974 Turkish invasion, Downer said Talat is the negotiator for the Turkish Cypriot side, pointing out that ``the Turkish Cypriots have agreed to the formula of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality and a single international personality.``

    ``That has been agreed to,`` he said, adding that ``its important to recognise this formula,`` which ``incorporated into Security Council resolutions of the United Nations, and its a formula accepted by both leaders.``

    ``So I do not get distracted too much by the politics of Cyprus,`` he added.

    Replying to a question on the Turkish insistence for the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee, Downer said that ``obviously one of the realities of the situation is that there is the Treaty of Guarantee, which goes back to the negotiations of 1959-60,`` adding that this issue will be discussed ``at an appropriate time.``

    Pointing out that Cyprus people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, want security, Downer added that ``politicians will have to work out how that security will be provided.``

    ``Whether a continuation of the past framework or whether a new framework would be introduced, or a hybrid of the two, thats something for the future and something they will need to talk about,`` he noted.

    On Turkey`s EU bid and the EU Commission assessment report for Turkey due to be released at the end of 2009, Downer said that this ``is an event, which people in Cyprus will certainly be focused on, as it draws closer,`` adding however that the EU assessment is not part of the discussions in Cyprus.

    Replying to another question, Downer said that he will be travelling to Moscow to hold talks with Russian officials on Cyprus, as well as Beijing to hold talks on Cyprus, without specifying dates.

    Meanwhile, Gregoris Delavekouras who assumed duties on Wednesday as the Greek Foreign Ministry`s Spokesman, in statements after Bakoyianni`s meeting with Downer, said the solution must be of Cypriot origin with no artificial timeframes or arbitration and safeguard the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus to a bi-zonal bi-communal federation.

    ``We stressed the need for the other (Turkish Cypriot) side to negotiate on this basis and to observe a constructive stance,`` he added, noting that ``Greece will continue to support the negotiations as well as President Christofias` effort to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement for a Cyprus settlement, within the above agreed framework.``

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