Peace Talks: Last Meeting Between Leaders Says Eroglu
Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervish Eroglu said that yesterday was the last meeting between himself and President Demetris Christofias until UN Secretary-general Ban ki Moon decides on whether to call a multi-lateral conference with Cyprus' guarantors Turkey, UK and Greece.
“So, we clearly expressed that we fulfilled the last of the Leaders meeting today. We will wait the decision of the UN Secretary General that will arouse (sic) in the light of the report of Downer. We will make an assessment considering that report” said Eroglu in a statement.
But the UN did not rule out more meetings between Christofias and Eroglu in the Cypriot-led reunification process, said Special Adviser Alexander Downer after yesterday's face-to-face meeting between the leaders. The talks have gone to a new phase in which the leaders' representatives will undertake further meetings on the issue of property, he said. However, no further leaders' meetings have been scheduled for April, he said.
"It’s only March...we are always happy to host meetings. Although I am leaving the island on Saturday, Lisa Buttenheim and the rest of our team will still be here. They are, of course, always available to the Leaders. The timing of the Leaders meeting is ultimately a matter for them because as I have often said this is a Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process," said Downer.
Yesterday, the leaders discussed the property issue - on which they have been unable to agree - and Downer's UN Security Council report which will be made by March 30th.
Downer said he will be travelling to meeting UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon in the middle of April. Ban ki-Moon said in earlier statements that he may call a multi-lateral conference in April depending on how the talks go on the core issues.
"We will have a talk then about how the Secretary General sees the way ahead," said Downer.
There has been speculation that the leaders will stop meeting after Turkish press reports that the ghost town of Famagusta will be opened to its displaced Greek-Cypriot residents earlier this week. The reports on the city's opening were denied by Eroglu.
Direct talks have been going on for more than three years but have made very little progress on the core issues of the executive, citizenship and property, and Ban ki-Moon said that the two sides are close to deadlock on those matters which are really at the heart of the Cyprus problem.
Executive: The Turkish-Cypriot side wants a rotating presidency, a position that is strongly rejected by the Greek-Cypriot side.
Citizenship: The Turkish-Cypriot side wants citizenship in a federal state for tens of thousands of Turkish nationals, also rejected by the Greek Cypriots.
Property: The Greek-Cypriot side wants the right of return for all Greek-Cypriot refugees to their property in Turkish-held north Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot side rejects this.
The National Council said it will refuse to approve Christofias' attendance at a multi-lateral conference until agreement is reached on the above issues.
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