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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-03-04

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon remains ``concerned about the rate of progress in the talks`` between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus for a solution to the Cyprus problem, noting that ``it is important that the parties reach convergences on the outstanding core issues as soon as possible.``

    In his assessment report on the status of the negotiations in Cyprus for the information of the members of the Security Council, Ban notes that, ``as I told both leaders when we met on 26 January in Geneva, the moment has come to confront the hard choices.``

    ``The negotiations cannot be an open-ended process, nor can we afford interminable talks for the sake of talks. Now, more than ever, both sides must demonstrate courageous and dedicated leadership and take practical steps to bring the negotiations to a conclusion. This will require both leaders to build a greater level of mutual trust between themselves and between their two communities,`` he notes.

    He adds that in the coming weeks he intends ``to follow closely the leaders` efforts to reach further convergences`` and that ``during the latter part of March, I will assess whether there has been enough progress for me to convene another meeting with the two sides,`` noting that he ``would expect that, at that occasion, they will explain to me how they intend to resolve remaining divergences.``

    In his report, the UN Secretary General reaffirms the basis of the talks. ``Since the beginning of full-fledged negotiations in September 2008, the talks have proceeded on the basis of the UN parameters, relevant Security Council resolutions and the joint leaders` statements made on 23 May 2008 and 1 July 2008. I am satisfied that the two leaders are committed to the bases of the negotiations and they have confirmed that the talks would continue on the agreed UN basis,`` he says.

    He also refers to a possible multilateral meeting. ``When I deem it appropriate and in consultation with both sides, I will determine if there has been sufficient progress on the core issues within and across chapters to warrant the convening of a multilateral meeting. The parameters of such a meeting are still being discussed by the two leaders,`` he notes.

    Ban furthermore gives an outline of convergences and divergences in various chapters of the negotiations.

    ``Regarding the specific issues under negotiation, on EU matters, the sides have reached convergence on certain issues related to Cyprus` representation in Brussels and decision-making in EU bodies. The primary remaining divergence relates to the incorporation of the settlement, including any derogation from the EU acquis, into EU law. Both sides wish to ensure the legal certainty of the settlement but differences remain on how to do this,`` he points out.

    Regarding the chapter on economy, Ban says that ``the sides have come close to completing convergences on the core issues,`` adding that ``there is now agreement on the use of both population and consumption as criteria for calculating how, for a certain transitional period, the north`s relative economic disadvantage should be addressed`` and that ``on this question, the parties have yet to agree on the conditions for deciding when this transitional period would expire.``

    The UN Secretary General considers that ``convergences on key issues in governance and power-sharing, including those related to the executive, are crucial to the success of the negotiations.``

    ``Since November, in response to my request to move forward on the remaining areas of divergence in this chapter, both sides have presented a number of bridging proposals. I believe that the remaining divergences are not insurmountable. It is vital that the two sides continue to focus on concluding convergences in this chapter,`` he says.

    On the remaining chapters, which he identifies as property, territory and security, and guarantees, he says ``there is less progress to report.``

    ``On property, there is already a broad conceptual understanding on a mechanism by which this most difficult of issues might be resolved. Since my last report, however, outstanding core issues in property have not been discussed. The stated positions of the sides on this complex topic remain far apart. In addition, while the sides touched on the subject of territory during the identification of core issues, the circumstances in which both sides would be ready to discuss this chapter have yet to be agreed. On security and guarantees, respective core issues have been identified but not discussed,`` he says.

    He adds that ``in the coming weeks, I strongly encourage the sides to deal expeditiously with outstanding core issues,`` noting that ``to do so, they must recognise that some of the key considerations in the above-mentioned three chapters are necessarily inter-related`` and that ``detailed negotiations, not only within these chapters but across these chapters, are required.``

    Despite his concerns about the rate of progress, Ban points out that, following his last assessment of November 2010, ``the leaders had heeded my call to lift the tempo and increase the output of the negotiations and indeed there has been some progress.``

    ``The political environment in the second quarter of this year, however, will likely be less conducive to making substantial progress in the negotiations. As we approach elections scheduled for Cyprus and Turkey, there is a very real risk of the talks losing momentum. There is a need now for greater impetus to achieve substantive agreements on the core issues across all chapters before the electoral cycles are too advanced. I stressed this to both leaders when we met in New York on 18 November 2010 and once again in Geneva on 26 January 2011,`` he notes.

    The UN Secretary General refers to the suggestions he made to the leaders of the two communities, both in New York and Geneva, and also mentions the meetings he had in January and February with world leaders, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Turkey, and the contacts held by his Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer.

    Regarding the progress of the negotiating process, Ban believes that ``the pace of the talks has quickened,`` despite the temporary absence of the Turkish Cypriot leader, who had to undergo surgery.

    Specifically concerning the Geneva meeting, Ban notes that ``the Turkish Cypriots put forth ideas for a plan which entailed negotiating all chapters in parallel with the exception of security, on the condition of adhering to a specific time table`` and that, ``while the Greek Cypriots are not in favour of a specific timetable for the negotiations, they in turn have submitted their ideas for a three-stage plan.``

    Ban reaffirms that the UN ``respect the talks as a Cypriot-led and Cypriot-owned process and that it is precisely for this reason that we expect the two sides to assume their responsibility to drive the process.``

    ``The destiny of Cyprus is in the hands of its leaders. It is they who must act to reconcile their differences. Without their dedication and commitment to reunifying the island, the process cannot move forward,`` he points out.

    Furthermore, he says that ``both leaders need to make a convincing case to the public that good progress is being made, that the status quo cannot continue, and that a united Cyprus can be achieved that will be to the benefit of both communities.``

    Regarding the role of third parties, Ban urges ``all regional and international actors to remain focused on finding a solution in Cyprus, to speak with one voice and make every effort to support both sides in the ongoing talks,`` noting that ``the three guarantor powers have provided important support for the process and I am grateful for their continued strong interest.``


    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will meet Friday afternoon in the framework of direct negotiations for solution of the Cyprus problem.

    The UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer, speaking after the leaders meeting on Monday, had said that the leaders agreed that the talks would continue on the agreed United Nations basis.

    All chapters, he added, are being negotiated with the aim of increasing the points of convergence on the understanding that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

    During Fridays meeting, the leaders will discuss governance and power-sharing.


    President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has expressed his sorrow over the interruption of the Christmas liturgy at the church of Saint Synesios in Karpasia, in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, adding that the Commission would look into the matter.

    In a letter of reply to Cypriot MEP Eleni Theocharous, Barroso notes that religious freedom and expression, as well as fundamental human rights, are safeguarded in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Religious Freedoms, adding that these rights are among the important values on which the EU is established and thus should be protected.

    He adds that the Commission would look into the matter, noting that the respect of religious freedoms was of utmost importance.

    On December 27, Theocharous had sent a letter to Barroso and other EU officials, explaining the incident on Christmas Day in Karpasia, and had reported the Turkish occupation regime for violating fundamental human rights, especially religious freedoms.


    The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry will launch an international campaign in 2011 to promote Cyprus services and industries abroad.

    Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides and Chairman of Cyprus Chamber Manthos Mavromatis said that the campaign includes a total of 15 business delegations, conferences and conventions in 23 countries abroad, covering the EU, the Gulf, Middle East and Asia.

    A total of 211 companies with 246 persons will be represented abroad, with an aim to promote Cyprus marine, audit, tourism services and the countrys agricultural and industrial goods.

    In 2010 the total of Cyprus exports was 570 million and the foreign companies registered here were more than 19 thousand, compared to 16 thousand in 2009, was mentioned at the Press Conference.

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