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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-04-14

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu discussed ways to move the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement forward Thursday evening while Special Adviser of the Secretary-General Alexander Downer said the Cyprus leaders have made progress on the issues of internal security and international agreements.

    Speaking to the press after the two and a half hour working dinner the UN hosted at the UN Protected Area in Nicosia, Downer also said that he discussed with the leaders their meeting in June with the UN Secretary General.

    He further said that both sides have made it clear that they are going to have censuses although the Greek Cypriot side wants to have a joint census and the Turkish Cypriot side is resistant to that.

    In his opening remarks, Downer said we hosted the two leaders tonight to a dinner here at the Chief of Missions house. He said it was a working evening and not a social occasion, although there has been a warm social element to it as well.

    Downer remarked that a heavy concentration on the talks and the process and, in particular, a discussion about the way forward over the next few months was held while he took the opportunity of talking to the leaders about the upcoming meeting with the Secretary-General in June. A good discussion was held about planning for the way forward. So I think it was a very useful occasion, but also a very friendly and a very warm occasion. And we look forward to hosting another dinner sometime in the not too distant future, he added.

    He repeated that it is a Cypriot-owned and a Cypriot-led process. We do what we can to support it. Its certainly not, as we see it, our role to breach confidences about every detail of a private discussion being held. There has to be a context in which we are all able to talk to each other privately.

    Downer said much was discussed during the two and a half hours, discussion and many of the specific issues within the chapters were discussed. A lot of thought was given to those questions as well, he added.

    Downer commented that the talks go in fits and starts. You can go every couple of weeks and it looks sort of fairly tough and then suddenly youll go a couple of weeks when things move forward. He acknowledged that there is no doubt that after the last two weeks things have moved forward. There was a very good meeting today between the Representatives and their teams with us and there was some very good progress on the issue of international treaties.

    He also said that last week there were some very good discussions also, and good steps forward on the issue of internal security.

    Acknowledging that there is a long way to go in these talks, he added it interesting that over the last couple of weeks theres been some good progress on those issues and certainly internal security for any country in any circumstance is a big issue. The issue of international treaties is not an insubstantial issue as well. So, good progress is being made, he said.

    Asked what is the situation on the matter of the census and if there has been an agreement or not on the issue, Downer replied that both sides have made it clear that they are going to have censuses. Thats the first point to make.

    The second point top make, he added, is that both sides have said they are willing to have some United Nations involvement, and that the United Nations would, and they would like the United Nations, if you like, to give credibility to the censuses. As I have explained on many occasions were happy to do that.

    He reminded that the Greek Cypriot proposal is to have the censuses held together, and the Turkish Cypriots are resistant to that. We offer no comment on that; thats a matter for them to resolve in one way or another. But, that both sides are committed to holding censuses, and has wished the United Nations to be involved, has elicited a positive response from us, as I have said yesterday, and as I have probably said before then as well. That has noI mean as some people have suggested, has no implications as to whether the proposal for the Greek Cypriots to have a joint census, or the proposal of the Turkish Cypriots, they would rather have separate censuses, we dont offer any views about that. Thats a matter for them to resolve. But so far, there has not been an agreement to have a joint census

    To a question what is his position on these proposals, Downer said I dont have a position on them. Its not our business. We have said that we are happy to help them with the censuses that they are proposing to have. I think the important point to make to you is that both sides have said that they will hold censuses; the Greek Cypriots would like the censuses to be joint, the Turkish Cypriots would like them to be separate. That particular issue is a matter for them. We dont proffer any particular view about that. Unless they both agree to have a joint census, I suppose there wont be oneNo there wont be a joint census, that doesnt mean there wont be separate censuses.

    Asked if the talks will have a break because of elections, Downer replied that the talks will continue through the Parliamentary elections here in Cyprus and through the elections in Turkey, which has an interest in this issue. Neither of these elections the elections in Cyprus on May the 22nd and the elections in Turkey on June the 12th will lead to any suspension, or temporary suspension, of the negotiations. They will continue right through that process. They will continue through that process, and then at some point in June the Secretary-General will meet with the two leaders and hell have some substantive discussions with them about the future, he concluded.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    The two sides in Cyprus are currently engaged in UN-backed direct negotiations which began in September 2008 with a view to solve the Cyprus problem.

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