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Cyprus

Downer comes to say farewell

Alexander Downer with President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday (Christos Theodorides)

By Staff Reporter

OUTGOING UN Special Envoy Alexander Downer was in Cyprus on Wednesday to say his farewells after announcing his  resignation last month.

Downer met Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in the morning after crossing north and then met President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace at noon.

No statements were made. Downer referred journalists to a news conference he would give on Thursday.

He did say that the president had given him a gift of a silver commemorative olive branch as a symbol of peace and of Cyprus.

Downer  was due to meet former leaders, ex President Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat later in the day.

Downer was in New York between March 19 and 20 for his farewell visit to UN headquarters. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked Downer to submit a report in April with his recommendations on the peace talks, including whether he feels it would be useful to appoint someone to replace him or whether his duties can be fully undertaken by UN Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim.

Downer reportedly told the UN chief that there were huge gaps between the two sides.

He is expected to fully step down by mid-April, after announcing his resignation on February 11, the day the talks began. Anastasiades and Eroglu will hold their second meeting as part of the talks on March 31.

 



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