06 May 2014 11:56

UN-brokered substantive negotiations aiming to reunite Cyprus begin today after an exploratory first visit to Nicosia yesterday of the organisation’s Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.
Feltman, who met President Anastasiades (photo), told journalists afterwards: “We just had an excellent meeting to talk about the steps forward toward a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
“This is my first trip to Cyprus in my capacity as UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, and I was able to convey to his Excellency, the Secretary General’s strong support for the joint declaration of February 11,” he added.
The high-ranking UN official also said he had expressed - on behalf of the Secretary General – appreciation to the President for his leadership and vision in promoting the conclusion of that February document. As well as working with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu toward the achievement of that February 11 declaration.
“The United Nations remains committed to working with the leaders and the people in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue,” Feltman said.
The joint declaration agreed between the two leaders and which kick-started the stalled reunification talks highlights key principles of a federated Cyprus.
But the process appears to be a bumpy one as the international community – especially the US – seems keen to maintain the momentum.
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said after yesterday’s Feltman-Anastasiades meeting that the need for the promotion and adoption of bold confidence building measures was noted.
“These (CBMs) should be parallel to the negotiating process, and actually give an impetus to the negotiating process. The need for a more active involvement by the European Union was also stressed,” Christodoulides said.
“The United Nations are constantly in touch with Mr Van Nuffel (Representative of the President of the European Commission on the Cyprus problem) who will be in Cyprus tomorrow (Tuesday),” he added.
Before his departure last night, Feltman also met with Eroglu in the occupied north.
As well as with the island’s two appointed negotiators – Andreas Mavroyiannis for the Greek Cypriot community and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Kudret Ozersay.
The last meeting between Mavroyiannis and Özersay was in mid-April during which they concluded the screening phase of the negotiations.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said yesterday that the new phase of the negotiations kicks-off with talks on the issues of property and of executive powers of a federated Cyprus.
He also made clear that all issues related to the 40-year-old Cyprus problem will be discussed, despite objections by Eroglu who wants crucial chapters – such as that of mainland Turkish settlers - to be left out.
Kasoulides sent the message that “we are not going to discuss half the Cyprus problem”.


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