Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon phoned the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders today ahead of intensive United Nations-backed talks on reunifying the Mediterranean island, urging them to show flexibility on the many issues under discussion, from governance and power-sharing to the economy and property.
Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been meeting regularly under UN auspices in a bid to establish a Federal Government with a single international personality, consisting of a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, each of equal status. In a quickening of the pace, they are scheduled to hold two three-day series of discussions this month.
Mr. Ban encouraged both leaders to remain committed and to show flexibility and leadership, " spokesman Martin Nesirky said of the separate phone conversations. He is convinced that win-win solutions in many different areas are available and he is confident that together both leaders have the political courage and vision required to make progress. The Secretary-General assured both leaders of the United Nations and his personal support. "
In December, the Security Council extended the mandate of the 45-year-old UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 15 June 2010. Now mustering 926 troops and 68 police, it was set up in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the communities. After hostilities erupted again in 1974, its responsibilities were expanded to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone and undertake humanitarian activities.
Mr. Ban`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said last month that the two leaders had shown a very strong commitment to achieve a successful negotiation and they have made good progress " throughout the past year. He also said that this year would be a pivotal point.
In a statement issued after their last meeting in December, the two leaders said that in the forthcoming meetings they would aim at more convergences on governance and power-sharing, the economy and European Union (EU) matters, as well as on the property issue.