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Cypriots Must Seize Opportunity For Reunification

Ban: Cypriots must seize opportunity towards reunification

6 June 2008 - Welcoming recent progress, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Cypriots to build on the momentum and make great strides towards reunification.

"A window of opportunity for Cypriots to finally resolve the Cyprus problem is clearly open," Mr. Ban wrote in his latest report to the Security Council on the work of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

He said that it is "particularly heartening" that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities have taken important steps towards resuming negotiations.

"What is especially encouraging is that the leaders reconfirmed, at their meeting on 23 May, the broad outline of a solution, based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined by the Security Council in its relevant resolutions."

That partnership, announced by the leaders Demetris Christofias (Greek Cypriot) and Mehmet Ali Talat (Turkish Cypriot) after a UN-backed meeting, is to comprise a Federal Government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which will be of equal status.

Such steps clearly indicate "the renewed political will to seek a solution to the Cyprus problem," the Secretary-General wrote, commending the efforts of Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat.

The recent opening of the long-closed crossing at Ledra Street between the two communities in Nicosia illustrates what can be achieved with the political will needed to address problems, he added.

Mr. Ban voiced his firm support for the talks between the two leaders later this month, and said he will appoint a Special Adviser.

But he warned that "the coming period will not be easy and may require major compromises," stressing the importance of fostering an environment favorable to pressing ahead towards a settlement.

In the absence of a comprehensive settlement, the Secretary-General recommended the extension of UNFICYP's mandate for an additional six months, in spite of recent positive steps.

The UN mission has been in place since 1964 following the outbreak of inter-communal violence, entrusted with preventing a recurrence of fighting and contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order.


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