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UN Secretary-General’s statements on Cyprus – highlights  

UN Secretary-General António Guterres hopes to hear from the two sides after the Presidential elections

The reconvening of this conference offers an historic opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement to the conflict that has divided Cyprus for too many decades. The road back to Switzerland has not been easy but the path to lasting peace never is.

To get to this point, the leaders have overcome significant challenges and making unprecedented progress and I salute the determination and common vision, which has led them here. I firmly believe that through determination and political will, it will be possible to clear this final hurdle and reach a comprehensive settlement. All participants have declared that they are here to find a solution. They’ve also demonstrated and awareness of this historic opportunity and responsibility they share for a successful outcome.

And I call on the leaders and the other participants in the conference to heed the call for peace of thousands of Cypriots at rallies on the island this week. The voices in support of a solution are indeed getting louder. At the same time, there is no doubt that some sensitive and difficult issues remain to be resolved. The chapter on security and guarantees is of crucial importance to a comprehensive solution. Discussions over the past few days have again shown that there is a commitment to find mutually acceptable solutions on security and guarantees that address the concerns of both communities.

But it is clear that the security of one community cannot come at the expense of the other and I urge all parties to continue in this area to engage in these critical negotiations with the same constructive and creative spirit that they have displayed so far, taking the bold decisions that are still needed to find common ground.

He said the parties have a responsibility to grasp the opportunity for peace and to bring a comprehensive settlement home to Cyprus.

But there is still a lot of work to be done.

Indeed, there were some new positions, showing increased flexibility in some aspects. But still, the most important things are to be done. There was important progress on the other chapters in bringing the parties closer on the chapters that are only being discussed by the two communities.

It is slow progress and many outstanding issues are still to be resolved.

All those participating in this conference have said that they hoped that Cyprus would one day be able to become a fully normal state. Where there are differences is of course in the amount of time needed for that and the conditions for that to take place. This is one of the areas where we still do not have an agreement.

The UN is here to support the parties. We want the parties to come to a positive result and we are not impatient. What we want is the result to be positive and sustainable. We don’t want a false agreement that won’t last.

So I can guarantee that from our side, we are not impatient and we are not threatening the parties in any way. On the contrary, we are here with humility but with determination to help find a solution, knowing that solution is very, very difficult to find.   And, of course we are not thinking about any proposal to the Security Council in relation to the peace operations.

If we would put a deadline (for a solution) we would help create the conditions for the problem not to be solved.  It’s up to the parties. The role of the UN is to support the parties to find a solution.  It’s not to present one to the parties.

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