Downer Still 'Cautiously Optimistic'
Special Adviser of the Secretary-General Alexander Downer reiterated he was 'cautiously optimistic' following this afternoon's meeting of Cyprus leaders in the United Nations Protected Area.
"I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think there was any prospect of success. I remain cautiously optimistic. These talks have covered a wide area. There’s been a lot of productive discussion, they’ve certainly moved forward a good distance. And I remain, yes, as I say, cautiously optimistic," said Downer this evening.
He went on to say "the leaders both authorized me to say they had a very productive meeting. What they talked about was the upcoming meetings, which are going to occur over the next month or so. And the discussion was with the objective of bridging differences on the issues that have already been covered in the negotiations up until now. The Representatives will be meeting again on Thursday here to work out some of the details."
Downer would not confirm whether the leaders will meet in January, saying it was not the time to discuss it.
"Today they discussed the way forward; how they were going to handle meetings over the next few weeks. It was a very productive and a very useful discussion," he said.
Mehmet Ali Talat and Demetris Christofias are set to meet once more this year, on December 21st.
Commenting on whether Ban Ki Moon would visit Cyprus, Downer said "no final decision has been made. I know the Secretary-General would like to come here at some time. But obviously, he has a very full agenda; he has a large number of different issues to deal with."
He added: "I met with the Secretary-General last week. He is very focused on the Cyprus question; he is very interested in the Cyprus question. I spent a good deal of time with him. He asked me a lot about it. He wanted to know the details of how it was working; he wanted to understand the different chapters that were being discussed and get a real sense of where the leaders are at."