UN Security Council Voices Concern over "Slow Pace of Progress" in Cyprus Reunification Talks
    2010-12-15 03:39:10     Xinhua      Web Editor: Yang

The UN Security Council on Tuesday voiced its concern in a new resolution over the "slow pace of progress" in peace talks on Cyprus, and called on Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to "increase the momentum" toward reunification.

The resolution was adopted with a vote of 14 to one at an open Council meeting. Turkey, a non-permanent member of the 15-nation Security Council, voted against the draft resolution.

In the resolution, the Council expressed "concern at the slow pace of progress in recent months, stressing that the status quo is unsustainable."

The Council strongly urged the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to "increase the momentum in the negotiations to ensure the full exploitation of this opportunity to reach an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement."

The Council meeting also reviewed a recent report to the Council by UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Cyprus. Ban's report advised that Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu draft a practical plan to achieve peaceful reunification by January 2011, when the two leaders will meet with Ban again.

Meanwhile, the resolution welcomed the "progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations and the prospect of further progress in the near future towards a comprehensive and durable settlement that this has created."

The resolution also extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until June 15, 2011. Its current mandate, if not renewed, is set to expire on Wednesday.

Explaining his negative vote, Turkish UN Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan said that Council resolutions, from the first one that set up UNFICYP to subsequent ones extending its mandate, are unfortunately still being drafted "as if there is only one side on the island."

"There has not been a joint and constitutional government representing the whole of Cyprus since 1963," he said. "Treating the Greek Cypriot government as the government of the whole island has been the main obstacle on the way to finding a just, lasting and comprehensive solution for over 47 years."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when the Turkish military intervened and occupied the island's north following a coup by a group of Greek officers.

Top-level talks in Cyprus began in 2008 after the then-leaders of the two communities committed themselves to working toward a bi- communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions.

Christofias and Eroglu agreed during their meeting with Ban in New York on Nov. 18 to intensify their contacts to advance progress in the negotiations.

The core issues in the negotiations include governance and power-sharing, economy, European Union matters, property, territory and security.

The property aspect of the talks tries to resolve numerous complex claims between the two sides on property seized decades ago.




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