UN top envoy for Cyprus urges momentum to be sustained toward peace agreement

December 1, 2010 10:23 am 

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 1 — The top UN envoy for Cyprus on Tuesday stressed here that the UN-backed Cyprus peace negotiation "ultimately is a Cypriot led and a Cypriot owned process," and called for momentum to be sustained during the process.

"This is an agreement that needs to go through two simultaneous referendums and therefore it has to be endorsed by Cypriots no matter what," Alexander Downer, UN secretary-general's special advisor on Cyprus, told reporters at the end of the closed-door Security Council consultations on Cyprus.

He highlighted to the reporters that "we set all along that this ultimately is a Cypriot led and a Cypriot owned process."

When asked about the process, Downer noted that the "process is definitely falling apart," yet also pointed out that it had "good structure."

"Since the 18th of November when the UN secretary-general met with leaders the process got a new momentum to it," Downer said. " Negotiations on the very complex question of property had to become 'bogged down.'"

The UN move was aimed at giving impetus to the stalled Cyprus negotiations.

"The peace talks on Cyprus were losing momentum and needed a boost if the two sides are to reach a settlement while there is still the time and the political opportunity to do so," UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said at the end of the one-day talks earlier this month between Greek Cypriot leader Mimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

"Only the leaders can give it that boost," he said. "The United Nations can support them, as we have been doing through the work of my special advisor and his team."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish forces invaded the island in response to a Greek-led coup apparently aimed at making it part of Greece.

Numerous UN-mediated attempts to reach a peace agreement over three decades have failed.

With the representatives of the two Cypriot leaders meeting on Wednesday and Thursday and the two leaders themselves meeting again on Dec. 6, Downer said he expected there to be other meetings till the end of the year, and at the end of January.

"We'll be continuing to do what we can as the UN to assist with the process there in Nicosia and we hope that the leaders are able to make successful process," Downer said. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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