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Cypriots Discuss Property Issues in Talks on Reunification

Cypriot Leaders Discuss Property Issues in UN-Sponsored Talks on Reunification

New York, Sep 6 2011 - Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders today held the first of two meetings this week devoted to property issues, among the thorniest in the ongoing United Nations-sponsored talks to reunify the Mediterranean island that has been split for almost 50 years.

“In an overall sense, the meeting was held in a good atmosphere – again, an example of both sides continuing to work hard to try to build convergences,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, told reporters following the meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Dervis Eroglu.

He noted that the two would meet again on Thursday after the two sides’ officials discuss the complex proposals further today, and again tomorrow with the participation of UN property experts.

The UN-sponsored talks began in 2008 with the aim of setting up a federal government with a single international personality in a bi-zonal, bi-communal country, with Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot constituent states of equal status.

The Greek Cypriots say those with property in the north should be able to seek reinstatement, while Turkish Cypriots say that if all property owners were allowed reinstatement, it would be impossible for Turkish Cypriots to secure bi-zonality. They want a ceiling on those who can have properties reinstated instead of compensation.

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The UN has maintained a peacekeeping force on the island – known by its acronym UNFICYP – since 1964 when inter-communal fighting erupted, with a current strength of some 920 uniformed personnel and over 150 international and national civilian staff.

Mr. Downer said he would brief the Security Council via video link-up tomorrow on how the talks are going.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

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