Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Cyprus

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a press conference during the Cyprus talks. 7 november 2016. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

23 November 2016 – The Secretary-General has been updated by his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Espen Barth Eide, about the outcome of the talks that took place between the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mustafa Akıncı, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, in Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland, on 7-11 November and 20-21 November. Despite the best efforts of Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı, the talks did not yield the desired results regarding agreement on the criteria for territorial adjustment and they decided they would return to Cyprus to reflect on the way forward.

The Secretary-General shares the disappointment of the two leaders who had hoped that the meetings in Mont Pèlerin would pave the way for the final phase of the talks. On the same night of 21 November, thousands of people from both communities gathered in the bufferzone in Nicosia in support of the leaders’ shared vision of a united homeland. The Secretary-General is confident of the leaders’ continued desire to deliver on these expectations with a mutually beneficial solution. Cypriots deserve nothing less.

The Secretary-General encourages Mr. Akıncı and Mr. Anastasiades to do their utmost to overcome also this particular hurdle and conclude the promising work that they had undertaken in Mont Pèlerin. They have made significant progress across chapters over the past eighteen months, advancing their talks further than ever before. They should continue to build upon their substantial achievements. The Secretary-General urges the leaders to continue their efforts in line with their shared commitment to do their utmost in order to reach a settlement in 2016. Especially in a region and in a world marked by increasing tension, they must not let this historic opportunity slip.

The Secretary-General reiterates his full support and the commitment of the United Nations to assist the two leaders in reaching their shared goal, while respecting that the future of Cyprus will be determined by Cypriots, for all Cypriots. He will be in contact with both leaders soon to discuss the next steps. He is in close contact with his Special Adviser who is currently assessing the situation.

The Secretary-General urges all interested parties to avoid any statements and actions that would make the resumption of talks more difficult. He reminds them that temporary set-backs are not uncommon in peace processes as talks approach a final stage.

The Secretary-General also calls upon all interested parties, especially the guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, to do their utmost to support the leaders during the coming days and weeks, which will be crucial for the negotiations and the future of Cyprus.