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Government denies UN bail out threat.


Elias Hazou

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday denied reports that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the two leaders in New York he will terminate his good offices in the next months if the sides do not break the deadlock in the talks.

"As you know, the Secretary-General provides his good offices on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions, and the Secretary-General is accountable to, and reports to, the Security Council," government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.

Citing diplomatic sources close to the New York talks, the Mail and Politis reported on Sunday that Ban made it clear to the two leaders they should clinch an agreement before June 2012, when Cyprus assumes the EU presidency. The UN is said to want the two sides to hold referenda so that a federal Cyprus will assume the presidency of the Council of the EU.

If the deadlock was not broken by February, the UN would shut down its Good Offices mission in Cyprus, the same sources said.

They said the UN feels there is no time for another tripartite meeting. When the two leaders meet with Ban again in January, there would only be two possibilities: declaring a deadlock or an agreement on the internal aspects and scheduling a multilateral meeting.

Yesterday the government spokesman also dismissed remarks made by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, who after New York said that the core issue of territory would be negotiated and settled at the multilateral meeting, and not in Cyprus between the two sides.

A multilateral meeting would be convened only once the two communities came "in range" of agreement on the domestic aspects of a solution, Stefanou said.

"Mr Eroglu should not be in a hurry for the multilateral conferenceC*let him come to the negotiating table with the same constructive manner as the president has done."

On Sunday, addressing a 1974 memorial event in Tseri, Christofias said that progress in New York on the issues of governance, properties, territory and citizenship had been "limited to non-existent".

Citing the UN chief's statement, Christofas said that, by contrast, the peace process has so far achieved on the economy, internal security and EU affairs -- issues that were discussed here and not at the New York summit.

Through a statement read out by the government spokesman, Christofias assured his audience that in New York there was no mention of UN arbitration or of "asphyxiating timetables [for a settlement]".

Contrary to media reports that the sides were now closer to an agreed solution than ever before, Christofias noted in his speech:

"Unfortunately, we note that we are not close to a solution, due to the considerable differences between the two sides."

The President went on to call on Turkey to abandon its "gunboat policies" and aggressive stance toward the Republic.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Nov 8, 2011
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