27 December 2013 09:21

NICOSIA - Two developments in New York in the second half of January could pave the way for the stalled Cyprus peace talks to resume, informed sources said yesterday.
The first is the briefing behind closed doors of the Security Council by UN special envoy for Cyprus Alexander Downer. And the second is the renewal for another six months of the mandate for UNFICYP – the peace-keeping force in Cyprus.
In addition, Turkey’s prevailing domestic turmoil will inevitably influence developments on the Cyprus problem.
“This is mainly because Turkey’s attention is now focused elsewhere. And irrespective of how Turkey’s political landscape will be shaped (after the imminent reshuffle) whatever moves on Cyprus will be made after the country’s municipal elections in March,” a source said.
“At the same time, Alexander Downer's options seem to be shrinking. The Australian envoy believes that valuable time has been wasted on discussions for the drafting of the joint declaration,” added the source.
The declaration clearly defining the basis of the negotiations aiming to reunite the island is a precondition for the Greek Cypriot side before a fresh dialogue resumes.
Agreement on it has yet to be reached and this is the obvious main task for Downer, who is expected in Cyprus in mid January. Nonetheless, the UN in Nicosia continue preparing the ground so that agreement is achieved.
Hopes had been high that negotiations would resume last month, but they have stuttered over the wording of the joint statement.
The Turkish side wants to undermine basic principles which are non-negotiable – such as the issue of sovereignty.


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