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Not Enough Progress in Cyprus Talks for International Conference - UNSG

United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon has told Cyprus' leaders Demetris Christofias and Dervis Eroglu that there was not enough progress on key aspects of reunification talks to justify an international conference with the two sides plus guarantors Turkey, England and Greece.

After a meeting in New York with Special Adviser Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General agreed with Downer's assessment that there is not the sufficient progress on core issues that would provide a basis for calling an international conference at this time, according to a statement from the UNSG's spokesman.

The spokesperson added that, in his calls to the two leaders, Ban ki-Moon urged the two sides to take bold and decisive action in order to move the process forward; and, that his conclusions would be discussed with them in more detail by Downer, who is set to meet with Christofias on April 27th.

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.

In their last meeting at the end of March, the leaders failed to reach any agreement on the property issue. The National Council said it will refuse to approve Christofias' attendance at a multi-lateral conference until agreement is reached on the above issues. The Greek-Cypriot side sees the 5-party international conference as a way to pressurise them into agreeing on issues they consider to be red lines.

Meanwhile, the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) in north Cyprus said that out of the 3174 applications for restitution, compensation or exchange, it has concluded 228 of them and paid out 70.3 million GBP in compensation. The European Court of Human Rights approved the IPC as a viable local remedy for property disputes within the context of an occupied country in which Greek-Cypriot refugees cannot use the land they abandoned during the 1974 invasion by Turkey.

Only one out of the cases was postponed until after a solution to the Cyprus problem, which has been going on for four decades with no end in sight.

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