A solution in Cyprus • Onu (UN) Secretary General said that they will need more courage and determination to bring these talks to a successful conclusion.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon made contacts on Monday, February 1, in Cyprus with the aim of providing support for direct talks and the negotiation process between the leaders to find a solution to the Cyprus issue.
The Secretary General said that the two leaders had personally assured him of their shared commitment for a comprehensive solution as early as possible.
The Secretary General crossed from the Greek Cypriot Side into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) through Lokmaci border gate and met with the President of the TRNC Mehmet Ali Talat.
The talks were also attended by Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu.
The Secretary General then held trilateral talks with Talat and the Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias in the buffer zone and held a joint press conference.
The Secretary General said that by visiting Cyprus he wanted to show the extent to which the continuation of negotiations and their gaining momentum was important. Stating that it was time to find a solution, Ban Ki Moon said he was convinced Talat and Christofias could achieve a solution, adding that the UN would continue its support to this end.
Answering reporters' questions, President Talat said that Ban had come to the island upon the leaders' call. Noting that they were racing against time, Talat said that there were still some differences of opinion, however, they were closer to a solution than before.
Greek Cypriot leader Christofias for his part stressed that they were in favour of the continuation of talks and said that talks on guarantorship were in progress.
On the other hand, Ban Ki Moon did not lower the UN flag in his official car during his visit to the TRNC despite Greek Cypriots' objections. TRNC and Turkish flags were not lowered in the Presidential Palace. Some Greek Cypriot politicians, who protested this, did not attend a reception given in the buffer zone.
The Greek Side was also distressed by the Secretary General’s meeting with Talat at the Presidential Palace.
Greek news agency reported that Greek leader Christofias expressed the Greek government’s distress on Ban’s meeting with Talat.
Following their meeting, UN Secretary General Special Advisor for Cyprus Alexander Downer made a statement to appease the Greeks, saying that the Secretary General recognizes the Greek Administration as the state on the island and met Mr. Talat as the leader of the Turkish Cypriots.
In response to the statement, TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat said that the visit would have been a failure if they were forced to change the venue of the meeting. He said that such behavior should not be tolerated as it is illogical and they will always ask for more