Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the importance of reaching a lasting settlement in Cyprus as the new United Nations envoy on this issue prepares to meet with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities tomorrow.
During a meeting with his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, Mr. Ban underscored the UN’s commitment to facilitating the achievement of a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, according to a note issued to the media.
The Secretary-General noted that Mr. Eide was assuming his functions at a “promising moment” in the Cyprus peace process, with fresh momentum having been generated by the Joint Declaration adopted by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in February this year.
Mr. Eide, a seasoned Norwegian diplomat, will meet with the two leaders, Nicos Anastasiades and Dervis Eroglu, in Nicosia tomorrow.
Mr. Ban conveyed his expectation that, as the leaders prepare to enter the next phase, they will show renewed dedication and courage to build on the principles outlined in the Joint Declaration.
He strongly hopes that the important gains achieved to date will be preserved as the sides move decisively towards structured and results-oriented negotiations, as called for in the Declaration, according to the note.
The UN chief added that, in these times of great turmoil in the region, it is more important than ever to reach a lasting settlement in Cyprus for the benefit of all Cypriots.
The UN has been facilitating talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leadership, with a view to the eventual establishment of 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.
The UN also maintains a peacekeeping force in Cyprus, known as UNFICYP, which was deployed in 1964, when inter-communal fighting erupted on the Mediterranean island.