Ban Ki-moon Commends Leaders’ Commitment to Settle Cyprus İssue

ccBan Ki-moon today commended the commitment of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue.

Mr. Ban, who met today with Mr. Akinci in New York, welcomed the “positive atmosphere” surrounding the ongoing talks, encouraging the leaders “to stay on this path,” according to a read-out provided by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.

The negotiations resumed on 15 May under the facilitation of the UN Special Adviser, Espen Barth Eide, who recently said that he strongly felt 2015 would be a decisive year.

The Secretary-General assured Mr. Akinci of his personal commitment and that of his Special Adviser to continue facilitating the talks.

Mr. Ban also welcomed the leaders’ agreement to work on a number of confidence-building measures that would benefit both communities, according to the read-out. Such measures, he noted, could help to increase and sustain the positive environment on the island.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Akıncı said there is a positive atmosphere on the divided island, where peace talks between Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south restarted last month.

“I’m very much convinced that with this mood and with the commitment of my people for a lasting and viable solution … we will be achieving a mutually acceptable solution within months rather than years,” he said.

Akıncı said a typical metaphor used on the island in the past when one side placed blame on the other was to call it a “tango”-a style of dance that requires a partner.

“Whenever one side or the other, depending on the circumstances, wanted to put all the blame to the other side, that side used the metaphor of tango: ‘You need two to solve the Cyprus problem, you need two to tango.’ … But what I’m saying nowadays is something completely different. I’m saying that we need a line dance. In Turkish, it is halay; in Greek, it is sirtaki”, he said.