UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he hopes a Cyprus deal will be reached before the end of his term in office this year.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, citing the Associated Press in New York, Ban said he was spending a lot of time and energy on the Cyprus issue, “the only other divided country besides the Korean peninsula” where he hails from.
Ban said, according to the CNA, that the Cyprus talks were “moving smoothly and well.”
He also mentioned the decades-old conflict in Colombia which was being resolved, and in which the UN was to play a role in the ceasefire deal.
“Now watching all these long, longstanding crises in Colombia and Cyprus are now coming closer to a resolution, I feel much more sorry and regretful that something which is relating to my own home country is not happening – even getting more and more difficult situation,” Ban said.
The two Cypriot leaders, President Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci are set to have a critical meeting on September 14 after a round of intensive talks over the past month, that will determine the direction of the negotiations.
They are also set to meet Ban in New York in or around September 26. Anastasiades tweet a message in Greek and Turkish on Sunday sending his best wishes for the Muslim religious holiday of Bayram and hoping that the future would bring peace and prosperity.
The Green Party was the first on Sunday to criticise Ban’s comments, firstly saying that by seeking an agreement by the end of his term this year, he was fixing a timetable, and secondly that he had equated the unrecognised breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north with North Korea, a recognised albeit currently unpopular, country.