UN secretary-general's visit to Cyprus raises concern among political parties

09:21, January 27, 2010      

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The impending visit to Cyprus by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has raised concern among Greek Cypriot political parties.

Politicians from across the political spectrum said on Tuesday they are worried that Ban's visit may lead to the signing of an interim agreement towards a solution of the Cyprus problem, to which they strongly objected.

Only left wing AKEL party welcomed Ban's visit, which is expected at the beginning of next week.

All other parties, including two participating in the coalition government of President Demetris Christofias, said they object to an interim agreement, fearing it will lead to the Greek Cypriot side making concessions without the Turkish Cypriot side reciprocating.

Their objections came on the second day of a three-day round of intensive talks aimed at narrowing gaps on crucial issues.

After five days of day-long discussions, Christofias, also the Greek Cypriot leader, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have only touched upon the issue of the forming of a government and power sharing between the island's two communities.

Christofias had proposed a rotating presidency between a Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot and electing a president and a vice president by weighted vote, which means that a Turkish Cypriot vote, will equal four Greek Cypriot votes.

These proposals are considered to be a major concession by the Greek Cypriot side. Christofias repeatedly complained that the Turkish Cypriot side did not reciprocate on other issues. These include the territory each community will control, international guarantees which the Greek Cypriot side wants to be abolished and the future of properties abandoned by their owners when Turkey sent troops to northern Cyprus in 1974 reacting to a coup by Greek army officers.

A Turkish Cypriot spokesman hinted Tuesday at Greek Cypriot reluctance to proceed to an agreement on the governance and power sharing issue, before other crucial issues are discussed. He said the Greek Cypriots seems to lack willingness to take the last step to an agreement before other issues are discussed.

Ban's visit has not yet been finalized but reports in Cyprus media suggest that he will arrive next Sunday after attending an African summit in Addis Ababa. He will have separate meetings with Christofias and Talat and a joint one with the two on Monday.

Cyprus government sources said an official announcement about Ban's visit will be made at the UN headquarters in New York after the conclusion of the Christofias-Talat talks Wednesday.

Source: Xinhua
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