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UN Political Chief Holds Talks With Cypriot Leader

UN political chief holds talks with Cypriot leaders

31 March 2008 - B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, met today in Nicosia with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders as part of his current mission to assess how the United Nations can help the two communities on the Mediterranean island resolve their long-running dispute.

Mr. Pascoe met separately with the Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. He also held talks with representatives of civil society as well as with leaders of Greek Cypriot political parties.

The UN's top political official is scheduled later today to confer with the advisers of Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat, both of whom are preparing for full-fledged negotiations later this year.

Tomorrow, he will hold talks with leaders of Turkish Cypriot political parties and representatives of Nicosia's international community, before returning to New York on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the leaders of the two communities met and agreed to begin talks to resolve the dispute, and this agreement was welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who pledged the world body's "full support to the Cypriot people in their efforts to reach a settlement."

That meeting, hosted by the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Michael Møller, also resulted in the leaders' decisions to set up a number of working groups and technical committees in advance of talks, as well as to open a crossing at Ledra Street in Nicosia as soon as technically possible.

The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), established in March 1964 following the outbreak of inter-community violence on the island, has been working to prevent a recurrence of fighting, contribute to a return to normal conditions and maintain law and order.

ENDS

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