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UN Envoy Reiterates Support For Cyprus Settlement

Top UN envoy reiterates support for Cyprus settlement

7 February 2008 - The top United Nations official in Cyprus today voiced the world body's support for a settlement on the Mediterranean island.

Speaking at a medal parade for the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Secretary-General's Special Envoy Michael Møller said that "rather than launching a new initiative on its own, the UN will support good faith efforts on the part of both sides to restart talks and work for a solution."

It has been 44 years since the mission was established, and he said that it is often legitimately asked what more UNFICYP can do after operating for decades in Cyprus and whether the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities have the political will necessary to reach a solution.

Ultimately, the "key to a settlement" lies not with the UN, but with the Cypriots themselves, stressed Mr. Møller, who also serves as head of UNFICYP.

"This year may indeed prove crucial for a solution, but we have seen expectations raised many times before," he noted. "The time has come for serious negotiations. The window of opportunity we have this year will not remain open forever."

The Special Representative paid tribute to the blue helmets in Cyprus, lauding the "impartiality, tolerance, patience, tact and diplomacy that you consistently demonstrate as you work in what are often trying and difficult circumstances."

Last December, the Security Council voted unanimously to extend UNFICYP's mandate for six months, emphasizing that "time is not on the side of a settlement, and that negotiations to reunify the island have been at an impasse for too long."

Expressing its full support for the July 2006 agreement - which set out the necessary framework for a political process designed to lead to the resumption of full-fledged negotiations - the Council voiced deep concern over the "lack of any progress."

ENDS

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