By Stefanos Evripidou
GREEK CYPRIOT negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis wrapped up his meetings at the UN headquarters in New York yesterday, meeting with senior UN officials to discuss the next steps in the peace talks.
Mavroyiannis held a series of contacts with UN officials, including UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, and representatives of the permanent members of the UN Security Council on Thursday.
According to a UN spokesperson, Feltman and Mavroyiannis discussed the course of Cyprus negotiations and the way forward after the February 11 joint declaration.
Mavroyiannis’ visit to the UN headquarters comes after his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Kudret Ozersay held a series of meetings in New York on the peace process.
According to a Cyprus News Agency source, Mavroyiannis discussed the Greek Cypriot position regarding the talks process with Feltman, noting that after the start of fully-fledged negotiations, there is still a long way to go.
The Greek Cypriot negotiator also expounded on President Nicos Anastasiades’ proposal for the return of the fenced area of Famagusta as a confidence-building measure, highlighting the momentum such a game changer would bring to the process.
Mavroyiannis was due to pay a courtesy visit to Archbishop Demetrios of America last night while today he will address the conference of the Cyprus Federation of America.
He will return to Cyprus in time for the second leaders’ meeting on Monday, where the two will review any progress made since the joint declaration was agreed and discuss future steps.
He is due to return to the United States after the leaders’ meeting, this time to hold a series of contacts in Washington, where Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami recently held meetings with officials from the White House and State Department.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis, US Ambassador to Nicosia John Koenig said a Cyprus solution was possible this year or the next.
The American diplomat said after decades of discussion, the conditions in the peace process are ripe for a solution.
“Many views are ready that could help the sides in securing convergences on issues they could not agree,” he was quoted saying.
Koenig said it appeared there was “a strong political will” on both sides to do this. “Therefore, it is possible to reach a comprehensive solution within this year or perhaps within the next year, but definitely within a period of time relevant to this,” he said.
He noted that Turkey offers “extraordinary support” to the Cypriots on this issue. “Many players from outside are trying to help you, but this depends on the Cypriots,” he told Havadis reporters.