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Cyprus: Incoming UN Cyprus Envoy Downer Meets Ban

Incoming UN envoy to Cyprus meets with Secretary-General

23 July 2008 - The incoming senior United Nations representative in Cyprus is in New York today for talks with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and briefings with UN officials about the situation in the Mediterranean country.

Alexander Downer, the former Australian foreign minister, is due to arrive in Cyprus on Sunday, beginning his duties as the Secretary-General's Special Adviser.

Earlier today he met with Mr. Ban at UN Headquarters in New York and received briefings from UN officials amid widespread hope of a resolution to the long-running dispute in Cyprus.

Early next week Mr. Downer is slated to meet Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

The two community leaders have agreed in principle, at talks held in Nicosia on 1 July on the possible reunification of Cyprus, on the issues of single sovereignty and citizenship.

Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat also agreed to meet again this Friday to undertake the final review of the working groups and technical committees.

In May the two men committed themselves in a statement to working towards "a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions."

The partnership will 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.

Last month representatives of the two communities also announced a series of measures aimed at easing the daily life of Cypriots across the island.

The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been in place on the island since 1964 after the outbreak of intercommunal violence. It is tasked with preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order.

ENDS

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