NICOSIA - The circumstances are clearly not right for a multilateral conference on the Cyprus issue at this stage, the UN Secretary General Special Advisor Alexander Downer said on Thursday, fter a meeting he had with the President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.
Downer, who met with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu earlier in the morning, told reporters that the UN will not force anyone to go into a multilateral conference and that they have made it clear that until there is some consensus on the issue, they are not ready to host such a conference.
“The Turkish Cypriots made the point that they want to move straight away to a multilateral conference and the Greek Cypriots have taken the view that first of all the internal issues need to be resolved before the multilateral conference”, Downer told the press after the meeting which lasted one and a half hours.
He pointed out that both the UNSG and himself have said that they will not force anyone to a conference that they do not want to go to because that “will guarantee the failure of the conference, so until there is some consensus in Cyprus about moving to a multilateral conference, we are not prepared to host that”.
UNSG Special Advisor stressed that the Turkish Cypriots have said that they do not want to continue the talks forever and they are “sort of waiting the multilateral conference”, adding that “the circumstances are clearly not right for that at this stage”.
Asked if he will meet the leaders of the two communities, Downer said that this is always a possibility, stressing that the UN are ready to facilitate a new meeting between the leaders of the two communities, if the two ask for it.
“Well, that is always a possibility, but we don’t have any plans to do that and it is ultimately up to them if they would like to meet, we will obviously facilitate that. If they don’t want to, that is their decision”, he said.
He added that the UN are just happy to go along with what the leaders want to do and in the meantime they will continue their work facilitating the Technical Committees.
“We are focusing at the moment on the technical committees and the work of those technical committees and trying to make them more productive, with some success, I think we have been more productive and we look forward over the next few months to them continuing their work in a constructive way”, he said.
Downer announced that on Friday morning he will be hosting a meeting of the leader’s representatives and their teams and the discussion will be predominantly about the technical committees and their work.
Replying to another question, he said that he will be back in Cyprus before the Presidential elections in February 2013.
“There’s going to be an election in February next year and we have no comment on that except that after the election of the new President we look forward to work with whoever that may be”, he added.
Replying to a question as to what issues are now being discussed between the two sides and if there is something that can be worked out now, UN official said that “it becomes more difficult obviously as we get closer to the date of the Presidential elections”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of talks between the two communities began in September 2008 with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.
Since May 2010, when Dervis Eroglu became leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, progress has stalled and the talks at leaders’ level have come to a halt.
The leaders of the two communities met with UNSG Ban-Ki Moon in New York last January for the fifth time. In his statements, following the meeting, Ban said limited progress had been achieved and invited both sides to make decisive moves in the negotiation chapters of governance, property and citizenship. (CNA)