Don't Throw Away What Has Been Achieved in Talks - Downer
The UN does not want to lose the progress that has been achieved in reunification talks over the last three years, said UN Special Advisor Alexander Downer amid uncertainty over the future of negotiations between the Greek-and-Turkish Cypriot communities.
A hardening of positions on both sides has characterised the recent months of talks, with the National Council insisting on an agreement on the core issues of property and governance before a multi-lateral meeting, and the Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu saying that he has already had his last face-to-face meeting with President Demetris Christofias.
The UN would like the multilateral meeting to be held as soon as possible but "there's no point in organising a conference if that conference is going to be a failure," said Downer.
No new leader meetings have been set, and the UN is continuing to try for progress at the technical level.
"I don't think it makes any sense to throw away all the work that has been done...it is important that they preserve these convergences and at the right time, work on dealing with the differences that exist," said Downer.
One possibility that the UN is working on now is revisiting the issue of Famagusta port as a confidence-building measure between the two communities, he said.
The Cyprus problem is 'one of the 3 or 4 most intractable problems,' he added. There is political will on both sides, but it is hard to get a final agreement because of the different political circumstances in each camp, said Downer.
In the next two weeks, the UN will have talks with both sides, but there is the complication of President Demetris Christofias who will not run in the February 2013 presidential elections.
Downer was answering questions after his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday in New York.
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