Cyprus Mail

Downer extends his stay by 24 hours

Alexander Downer

UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer has extended his stay on the island by 24 hours to hold further meetings with the Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis and the Turkish Cypriot negotiator Osman Ertug.

The meetings are part of efforts to bridge the gap between the two sides with a view to concluding a joint communiqué for the resumption of Cyprus talks. Downer had been due to leave the island on Friday but instead will leave late on Saturday after more meetings.

Statements by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last weekend that he would like to see a deal on a joint statement between the two sides during Downer’s visit so that a new round of negotiations could start had been interpreted by the Greek Cypriot side as an ultimatum. Downer denied this on Wednesday after meeting President Nicos Anastasiades who had only harsh words for the UN and Downer last Saturday on hearing the statements out of New York. The Greek Cypriot s side says it won’t be hurried and won’t hold talks for the sake of talks.

The Cyprus News Agency said on Friday that the situation remained fluid but Downer’s extension of his stay was seen as a glimmer of hope in the effort to come up with a joint statement.

“Things are not easy,” the agency quoted sources as saying.

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