January 19, 2018

Secretary-General’s press remarks after his meeting with the leader of the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community

Good afternoon,

I would like to extend my deep appreciation to His Excellency, Mr. Christofias, and His Excellency, Mr. Eroglu, for joining me here in Geneva today to take further steps towards a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Two months ago, I called the leaders together in New York because I felt the negotiations were losing momentum. During our meeting, I asked the two leaders to identify the core issues in all of the chapters yet to be resolved, and they have done this. I also asked them to agree on a practical plan. Both sides have worked energetically to take the negotiations ahead.  Despite Mr. Eroglu’s heart surgery, the two leaders held four meetings, while their representatives have met a further 13 times.

There has been progress since we last met in November. Based on discussions today, it is clear that the two leaders worked to move closer together through a range of bridging proposals, notably in the chapters of Economy, EU matters, and Governance and Power-Sharing. Nonetheless, more work must be done to reach further convergences on the outstanding core issues.

Today, we have identified a number of elements designed to maintain momentum and to address more directly the details of a workable, mutually beneficial solution. The meeting’s spirited and substantive discussions contributed to clearing the air on several key issues.

The leaders have discussed the outstanding key issues in a more interrelated fashion, since a settlement proposal will need to consist of an integrated package across chapters.
I have encouraged both sides to talk to experts that I can make available on the technical aspects of the property issue.

The sides have also agreed to intensify the negotiations through a series of additional meetings in the coming weeks and I have pledged to make myself available to them again soon to continue to take stock of progress and to encourage the parties in further narrowing the differences.

As recent surveys have shown, both communities in Cyprus want more than talks: they want a solution. The leaders have heard that message and they are acting. I welcome the steps that the leaders have taken today which give a clear indication of their commitment to reunifying Cyprus as soon as possible.

At the end of February I will be providing the Security Council with a report on the state of the talks.  I will closely follow the efforts of the leaders in the coming weeks as they reach further convergences across all chapters. I am certain that if the constructive spirit that I witnessed today continues, I will have a positive report to submit.

As you know, these are issues of great sensitivity, and so we have agreed not to take questions at this time.  I hope you understand and please be patient. This is a very sensitive process of negotiations. I hope you understand I seek your patience and understanding on this, and I thank you very much for your attendance here today.