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Cypriots 'Right To Have High Expectations' - UN

Cypriots 'right to have high expectations' for a settlement, top UN official says

2 April 2008 - There is a "palpable sense of momentum" in Cyprus toward a lasting solution to the dispute between the Mediterranean island's two communities, the top United Nations political official said today after wrapping up a visit.

B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told a press conference held in Nicosia that "Cypriots are right to have high expectations" given the positive tone of the Greek Cypriot leader Demetrios Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in recent discussions.

Mr. Pascoe said the UN hoped and expected that efforts over the next three months would lead towards full-fledged negotiations on a settlement to the dispute.

"We all know that achieving a solution will not be easy... It will require a lot of hard work and compromise, but I am confident in the end the two sides, with our help, can succeed," he said.

In response to questions, Mr. Pascoe said he expected to visit both Athens and Ankara next week for talks with Greek and Turkish officials. He is also scheduled to report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to the Security Council when he returns to New York.

"I have certainly talked with all the interested countries around and all of them have assured me that they are quite enthusiastic about the process moving forward. There is a lot of goodwill that wants a resolution of the Cyprus problem."

The Ledra Street crossing in Nicosia is slated to open tomorrow morning after the two sides reached an agreement late last month that was welcomed by Mr. Ban as a "positive step forward."

ENDS

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