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(DIP) UN SG BAN ARRIVES IN CYPRUS TO EXTEND SUPPORT TO SETTLEMENT TALKS.

LEFKOSA, Feb 1, 2010 (TUR) -- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrived in Cyprus Sunday night to display his personal support to Cypriot leaders in their efforts to find a settlement to the Cyprus issue in comprehensive talks.

Speaking to the press upon his arrival at the Larnaka airport, Ban said he was aware of the difficulties in the comprehensive talks, saying that nevertheless a settlement was possible.

Ban emphasized that he came to the island to display his personal support to the efforts of the leaders. He said to the Turkish and Greek Cypriot peoples that their fates were in their own hands.

He said the international community had high hopes for the settlement of the Cyprus issue, adding that a settlement would be an inspiration for the solution of other problems in the region and the rest of the world.

Ban expressed his satisfaction over the progress recorded by leaders under the "Administration and Sharing of Power" chapter in the comprehensive talks.

Ban later met with Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias over dinner.

Ban is expected to meet with Christofias and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat. Ban, Talat and Christofias are expected to hold a joint press conference after the meeting.

-CYPRUS ISSUE-

Gaining independence from the UK in 1960, Cyprus became a bi-communal Republic where Greek and Turkish Cypriot constituent communities would share power guaranteed by the UK, Turkey and Greece. However, reluctant to share power and pursuing a policy of Enosis (Union) with Greece, Greek Cypriots soon expelled Turkish Cypriots from power and terrorised and ghettoised them.

Decades long armed attacks on the defenseless Turkish Cypriots culminated in 1974 when an Athens-backed Greek Cypriot military coup on the island led to Turkey's intervention based on its rights stemming from guarantorship agreement.

Although the Republic of Cyprus as described in the 1959 agreements is no longer there, Greek Cypriots continue to enjoy this title and international recognition while the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a fully democratic government representing Turkish Cypriots, still suffers under an unfair political and economic blockade.

Cyprus joined the EU as a divided island when Greek Cypriots in the south rejected the UN reunification plan in twin referendums in 2004 even though the Turkish Cypriots in the north overwhelmingly supported it.

The promise made by EU foreign ministers before the referendums to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and establish direct trade with north Cyprus remains unfulfilled.

(OZG-CE)

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Publication:Anadolu (Eskisehir, Turkey)
Date:Feb 1, 2010
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