October 20, 2017

Secretary-General’s press conference – Abstract on the situation in Cyprus

Question: Mr. Secretary-General, now you have invested heavily, personally, in this Cyprus problem, for a solution in Cyprus, and you have spent a lot of time for the past few days in Greentree with the leaders. Are you disappointed that there is no concrete solution, at least for this stage here in New York? That is my first question.

And in relation to that, what do you think about the isolations on the Turkish side, because without lifting the isolations there, it is basically not a fair situation where they can’t export anything, import anything, they can’t travel. We are in the 21st century, and you know, they are isolated very heavily. What do you say on that?

Secretary-General: As I am in the position to facilitate their negotiations, this Cypriot-led, Cypriot-owned process, I should not speak much about the detailed information of what had been discussed between the two leaders and myself also, for confidentiality. Confidentiality is a very important element to help this process move. That is what I have been emphasizing to the two leaders – please keep confidentiality.

At this time, through five rounds of such negotiations, facilitated by myself directly, I think they have come quite close, but still, the major, what we call the core issues – like the election of the executive, who will become the President and Vice President, and what the relationship will be, the rotation period, how these leaders should be elected – this is one of the most important core issues which they have not agreed yet. A lot of proposals have been put on the table. And there again is a very complex issue of property. One positive thing is that they are going to exchange necessary data within two weeks on the properties located both in the south and the north, so that they will find some mechanisms, guidelines, on how to handle these properties. Whether it should be compensated or reinstated or different issues And then, citizenship. There has been an increase in population on both sides. To whom and how many people should be given citizenship of a united federal Cyprus? I think these issues can also be handled through exchanging data, necessary statistics. Upon my suggestion, both sides, both communities, have conducted censuses recently. The United Nations monitored the census which was conducted in the Turkish Cypriot [community]. Therefore I have been urging them to engage in a give and take process [in a] bold and decisive manner. As you said, there is an issue of isolation and difficulties for the people, citizens. The Turkish Cypriots are suffering from all these hardships. The sooner they agree, I think the sooner people will be able to enjoy the social and economic opportunities. That is my goal and my vision. And I think I have had good discussions in a very friendly manner. The exchange of discussions and views between the two leaders have always been very cordial, and friendly, and mutually respecting, so let us hope that they will continue the remaining tasks until the end of March, then my Special Adviser will assess the situation. If his assessment is positive, then consistent with the relevant Security Council resolutions and following consultations with both parties, I intend to call an international conference.