Term Ending, UN Chief Says He’s Committed to Cyprus Unity Talks

UN chief Ban Ki-moon holds hands with (L) Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

NEW YORK – With Cyprus unity talks bogged down over major issues, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said they’re going well.

He made the remarks following a meeting at the United Nations with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, the two leaders at the forefront of hopes the four-decade old division – caused by an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974 – would end this year with a deal.

“We discussed the state of play in the ongoing negotiations to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus,” Ban told reporters after his meeting, essentially repeating the frequent platitudes he has dispensed despite evidence little progress is being made.

He told Akinci and Anastasiades to keep talking and “encouraged them to continue to engage in the process with determination, courage and creativity,” his office put out in a statement.

“They informed me that they intend to further intensify their negotiations upon their return to Cyprus. I urged them to make the most of this opportunity, in order to resolve their outstanding issues, without delay, in earnest,” Ban said.

He added: “(They) asked me to step up my personal engagement in the process. I stand ready to support them in whatever they may require, including on the international dimensions of the issue.”

He didn’t explain why no progress has been made or why he didn’t get more involved as his 10-year term is set to expire in December.

Stating that the period ahead will be crucial for Cyprus, the Secretary-General said: “Time is of the essence. The United Nations and I will do our utmost to promote a successful outcome.” He has three months to do what no one has accomplished in 42 years.