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Cyprus

Anastasides: when there is a will, there is a way, and the time to reach a solution this year

President Nicos Anastasiades said on Sunday that when there was the will, there was a way and the time to find a negotiated settlement by the end of the year.

At the same time, he said conditions at the negotiations must not be such that they could act as a deterrent to the peace effort instead of leading to a positive outcome.

“If we are led to conferences when circumstances are not ripe, they will not yield the result we are seeking,” he said after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

“I expect everybody to show commitment to our objective and be ready to respect the concerns of each of the two communities in Cyprus. We have already done this. There are some issues which continue to be very sensitive for the Greek Cypriot community and I expect that mutual understanding will give us the opportunity, through creative ideas, to find a way out,” he told reporters.

The meeting with Ban, which lasted about 20 minutes, was also attended by Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN Nicos Emiliou, Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides and Ban’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide.

The president said he had a comprehensive and creative meeting with the secretary general.

He said at first they talked about the agenda of the General Assembly and he assured Ban that Cyprus would, by the end of the year, complete the ratification of the agreement on climate change.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said they talked about the state of play in the UN-facilitated peace talks.
“We talked about the current phase of the negotiations, with great impartiality and far from any blame game,” Anastasiades said, noting that he explained to Ban where things stood and underlining that there were still pending issues that needed to be addressed.

“I stressed the need for everybody to be particularly careful not to create any circumstances which may, instead of leading us to a positive result, prove to be a deterrent to our efforts for a solution,” the president said, adding: “If we do not focus on the substance and the concerns that exist, we might be led to conferences which, should they prove to be premature, will not yield the results we want to achieve.”

The president said he was pleased to have found “absolute understanding” from the secretary-general about everything he had outlined during their meeting, in the presence of Eide.

Asked if he handed Ban any document with the views of the Greek Cypriot side and the six negotiating chapters, he replied “this will be done at the right time.”

“The Secretary General did not hear anything unpleasant apart from the reality of the situation and the reality does not mean it is unpleasant. There are difficulties and that is why everybody, if they want to help find a solution in Cyprus, must focus on the actual difficulties so that all sides show understanding to the concerns of each other. Especially those that have an important role to play, (concerns) which led the Greek Cypriot community to reject the Annan plan (a UN-proposed solution plan),” in 2004 the president stressed.

Replying to questions, he said “what we are seeking is to continue the fruitful and constructive efforts in order to find a comprehensive solution.”
Asked if he believes that there is enough time to find a solution by the end of the year, he replied: “When there is the will, there is the way and the time.”

A readout from the UN said: “The secretary-general and the president discussed progress in the Cyprus peace talks, facilitated by the secretary-general’s special adviser. With the unprecedented progress in the negotiations achieved in the past year, he also welcomed the atmosphere of mutual trust, determination and goodwill surrounding the talks,” it concluded.

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