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Ban ki-Moon, Christofias, Eroglu In Intensive Talks, US

greentree meeting christofias erogluUN Secretary-general Ban ki-Moon and Cyprus leaders Demetris Christofias and Dervis Eroglu are in intensive talks at Greentree Estate in Manhasset in New York, with the main issues of governance, power-sharing, property and territory under discussion.

Instead of the usual conference-room meeting with Ban ki-Moon, the leaders were photographed at Greentree appearing at ease and all without ties,in a carefully choreographed message of friendship. It is their fourth meeting with the UN Secretary-general (UNSG).

But back home, the president is being criticised for not informing the National Council about developments in the negotiations by all parties except the communist party AKEL.

Yesterday, October 30th, Ban ki-Moon met with the leaders for two hours and the negotiations throughout the day continued with Special Adviser Alexander Downer and UN Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn Pascoe.

"These discussions have been positive, productive and vigorous...From our point of view, the United Nations is pleased with the way it is going," said Downer.

Cyprus leaders Demetris Christofias and Dervis Eroglu still have significant differences on the core issues of governance, power-sharing, property and security and went to New York to meet UN Secretary-general Ban ki-Moon to discuss these problems.

On October 21st, the leaders had their last meeting in an intensified phase of talks in which they tried to reach agreements on the most difficult issues.

Today (October 31st) Ban ki-Moon met with the leaders for about six hours, followed by a dinner. The UNSG is expected to make an announcement on November 1st following the talks, said Downer.

The special adviser denied that the UN has made any attempts to offer bridging proposals in the talks, saying that "the United Nations cannot impose anything on them and we have no intention of doing so." Nonetheless, the UN is trying to think of creative and constructive ways of pushing the process forward and fulfill its obligations to the UN Security Council, said Downer.

The current round of UN-led peace talks started in 2008 between Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat, who was replaced by Eroglu after elections in the Turkish-Cypriot community. The main principle is that it will be a Cypriot solution negotiated by Cypriots. Once talks are wrapped up, a reunification plan will be presented to Ban ki-Moon, a process which will be followed by separate referenda in both communities.

Given President Christofias' low approval rating after the deadly explosion at Evangelos Florakis naval base, it would be more than usually risky to present a new plan to the Greek-Cypriot side and expect approval, say analysts.


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