28 March 2014 13:32

Outgoing UN special envoy Alexander Downer on Thursday said that the recently-launched process for the solution of the Cyprus problem was in good shape.
But at the same time, President Anastasiades appeared to be saying the exact opposite to visiting philosophy students from Greece.
“The positions of the Greek Cypriot side and of the Turkish Cypriot side are not close enough,” Anastasiades said.
“I’m preparing a document in which there is a comparison between the Turkish side’s positions so far and the provisions included in the joint communiqué,” he added.
The controversial communiqué which kick-started the peace process on February 11 highlights the key principles of a federated Cyprus.
Anastasiades’ document will highlight the divergences rather than the convergences of the Turkish side from what was agreed in the communiqué.
“The document will either be handed to the Turkish Cypriot leader (Dervis Eroglu) when we meet (face to face) on Monday or we will continue a discussion on the positions included in the document,” the President said.
The official document will also be handed to the UN Secretary General Bank Ki-moon when they meet in Brussels on Wednesday, April 2, he added.
And to other interested parties, implying the European Commission whose Cyprus Steering Group yesterday issued a statement enhancing support to the Cyprus settlement process.
After a meeting chaired by Commission President José Manuel Barroso to assess the situation following the resumption of fully-fledged peace talks, he said:
“The Group looked into how to step up their help to familiarise the Turkish Cypriot community with the significant task to implement the EU body of laws in the prospects of a final settlement”.
“On both accounts we need to ensure that our pace matches progress in the settlement talks and that the two parties agree.”
The Group was established by Barroso in January 2009 as a means of the Commission to support the peace talks and coordinate positions on EU related aspects of a settlement.
As for Downer, whose last day on the Cyprus job is April 20, he told a farewell bi-communal press conference at the Ledra Palace that there was positive momentum in the peace process.
The motive this time is the island’s harsh economic climate which helps the public understand the benefits of reunification, he said.
“With the economic crisis, GDP has declined, unemployment is on the rise…reunification has become more appealing,” Downer said.
“It would be such a huge boost, tourism will be on the rise, the economic relationship that twill develop with Turkey should not be ignored,” he added.
Downer, who was the special envoy for five and half years, said he will submit an end of assignment report to the UN chief in the form of a narrative. It will also include observations and recommendations.


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