UN envoy says satisfied about pace of Cyprus talks

09:56, July 23, 2010      

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The United Nations said on Thursday that the pace of the Cyprus talks aimed at reunifying the island is still good, despite hardline statements made on the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish military intervention.

"It is a time when people focus on history and on the past but the important thing is that the leaders are working towards the future, they are not working towards the past," said Alexander Downer, special advisor to the UN secretary-general on Cyprus.

He was talking to reporters after a further meeting between Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, who acts as leader of the Greek Cypriot community, and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

Both communities held rival events on Tuesday to commemorate the Turkish military intervention 36 years ago in response to a coup by Greek army officers. Turkey send an official delegation to attend a high-profile military parade, marked by the presence of Turkish navy ships and acrobatic jets.

When asked whether statements made by the two sides on the anniversary had a negative impact on the talks, now going on for two years, Downer said "you can't revisit the past".

"You can only live in the presence and the future, and the leaders are working towards the future, and we in the United Nations are very encouraged by that,"Downer added.

He said the leaders are working towards the future and towards building a better future for Cyprus, adding that "the important thing is to think about what lessons can be learned from the past and what a great future can be built for Cyprus."

Downer said the two leaders had a long and a good meeting on Thursday talking on the property issue, the differences that they have, and convergences that they are confident they can build.

"The process has good momentum ... if we make an overall evaluation, then the leaders are showing a lot of commitment to meeting, to talking through issues," Downer said.

He also said that the two leaders have decided to have three meetings during the August holiday season.

"They are looking to the future and I would say that's a pretty good sign of the level of their commitment," Downer said.

Source: Xinhua


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