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UN Envoy to Cyprus Meets with Turkish Officials

Top UN Envoy to Cyprus Meets with Turkish Officials

A top United Nations envoy is in Turkey today for talks with the country’s senior officials regarding the recently-launched UN-backed negotiations aimed at reunifying Cyprus.

Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, met with President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and other Foreign Ministry officials.

The envoy “appreciated the opportunity to hear the perspectives of the Turkish Government on the recent renewal of full-fledged negotiations between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leadership and looks forward to continuing to engage in a dialogue on the matter,” UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York.

Mr. Downer arrived in Ankara after stopping in Athens to meet with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

Tomorrow, the Representative will be in Cyprus to attend the first substantive meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat as part of their full-fledged negotiations.

Last week, Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat formally began the talks in a bid to reach a comprehensive settlement to the long-running problem on the Mediterranean island.

In May, the two leaders committed themselves 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.

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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