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Ban Ki-moon in Cyprus

1 février 2010

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Cyprus to encourage the two leaders of the Cypriot communities to reach a mutually-acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem, an effort that requires « courage, flexibility and vision as well as a spirit of compromise« .  The UN Chief was met at Larnaka aiport (31 Jan.10) by Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and UNSG`s Special Adviser for the Cyprus problem Alexander Downer.

Immediately after his arrival the UNSG traveled to the divided capital Nicosia, where he attended a banquet given in his honour by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

Ban told reporters at Larnaka airport that « I am very pleased to be in Cyprus for the first time. I am here to show my personal support to the Cypriot-led talks to reunify the country. My visit is a reflection of the importance I will attach to the current efforts of their Excellencies Mr (Demetris) Christofias and Mr (Mehmet Ali) Talat to reach a settlement« .

He said for over 45 years UN has been in Cyprus helping to keep the peace and contributing to the efforts to bring about normal conditions on the island. « So I am on no illusion that the Cyprus problem is easy to solve or about the difficulties that you face. At the same time, I am confident that a solution is possible and within reach« , he pointed out.

The UNSG stressed that « I am impressed by the enormous personal commitments shown by the both leaders over the past 16 months. They have invested great time and energy for this peace process. I am pleased by the significant progress that has been achieved recently on government and power sharing. The leadership of the Excellencies Christofias and Talat have demonstrated at this key moment, is to be highly commented« .

« I am here to encourage the two leaders to bring these talks to a successful conclusion. Reaching a mutually-acceptable solution will require courage, flexibility and vision as well as a spirit of compromise« , Ban continued.  He stressed:  « Let me say this quite clearly: this process belongs to Cyprus. The UN is here at the invitation of both sides to assist. Your destiny is in your hands. You have taken responsibility for finding a solution. You are the ones driving the process and the ones who will benefit from tremendous benefits and opportunities a settlement will bring to this island« .

Ban said the expectations of the international community are very high.  « Let`s not underestimate the importance of a solution not only to Cyprus but also to the region and indeed to the world. Solving the Cyprus problem will give an inspiration to all those around the world trying to solve other seemingly intractable conflicts. And I am looking forward to have great meetings with the two leaders tomorrow« , the UN Chief concluded.

Famagusta Gazette

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