October 18, 2018

Statement of the Secretary-General on his arrival in Cyprus

Ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to be in Cyprus for the first time.

I am here to show my personal support to the Cypriot-led talks to reunify the country. My visit is a reflection of the importance I attach to the current efforts of their Excellencies, Mssrs. Christofias and Talat to reach a settlement.

For over 45 years, the United Nations has been in Cyprus helping to keep the peace and contributing to the efforts to bring about normal conditions on the island. So I am under no illusions that the Cyprus problem is easy to solve, or about the difficulties that you face.

At the same time, I am confident that a solution is possible and within reach. I am impressed by the enormous personal commitment shown by both leaders over the past 16 months. They have invested great time and energy in this peace process.

I am pleased by the significant progress that has been achieved recently on governance and power-sharing. The leadership that their Excellencies Christofias and Talat have demonstrated at this key moment is to be commended.

I am here to encourage the two leaders to bring these talks to a successful conclusion. Reaching a mutually acceptable solution will require courage, flexibility and vision, as well as a spirit of compromise.

Let me say this quite clearly: this process belongs to Cyprus. The United Nations is here at the invitation of both sides to assist. Your destiny is in your hands. You have taken responsibility for finding a solution. You are the ones driving the process and the ones who will benefit from the tremendous benefits and opportunities a settlement would bring to this island.

The expectations of the international community are very high. Let’s not underestimate the importance of a solution not only to Cyprus but also to the region and indeed to the world. Solving the Cyprus problem will give inspiration to all those around the world trying to solve other seemingly intractable conflicts.

I am looking forward having good meetings with both leaders tomorrow.

Thank you.