This week has seen the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu, meet with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York on April 21st. The aim of the meeting was to progress the talks between North and South Cyprus and eventually reach a second set of simultaneous referenda in both sides of Cyprus about the possible bi-zonal reunification of the island. These renewed talks follow a 20 month pause in the negotiations.
Following this very positive New York meeting, Eroglu was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: “Our target remains … the settlement of the Cyprus problem in the shortest possible time. We have the support of the Secretary-General in this regard. He has been encouraging the both sides,” Furthermore, he said that he would work towards bridging differences with the Greek Cypriots and that he was committed to finding a comprehensive settlement in the shortest possible time. “We said a settlement is possible within this year. We can finalize a settlement, and take it to … separate simultaneous referenda, in 2014.”
For his part, the UN Secretary-General Ban gave equal support and encouragement to both Eroglu and to south Cyprus president Anastasiades, “to maintain the current momentum in the talks” and once again reconfirmed the U.N’s commitment to helping the two sides to reach a comprehensive bi-zonal settlement. Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu has a reputation for being a hardliner and for not bending to compromise, yet the current round of talks has been the most productive for many years.
A resolution to the division of Cyprus has eluded a series of negotiators for decades. Recently, one of Greek Cypriot President Anastasiades’ coalition members left the government , complaining that the President had already made too many critical concessions even before the talks began. The latest talks resumed in February 2014 after both leaders agreed on a document which outlined important key provisions of an envisioned bi-zonal federation.
Outgoing U.N. envoy Alexander Downer announced at his last news conference on March 27th that south Cyprus’ economic problems and the European bailout could bolster the chances of a successful agreement – pointing out that the Greek Cypriot shrunken economy and high unemployment would create a more positive attitude to the advantages an agreement could bring, which would include a possible increase in overseas investment and a rise in tourism. There’s “positive momentum” in the talks, Downer said, adding that he believed a “deal can be done.”Go Back