Ban urges Cypriot leaders to maintain peace process momentum

During separate conversations with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, Mr. Ban called for progress to be made on the issue of property, which has been the focus of United Nations-backed negotiations in recent months.The property aspect of the talks tries to resolve numerous complex claims between the two sides on property seized decades ago.The talks began in 2008 after the then-leaders of the two communities committed themselves to working towards a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions. According to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, the Secretary-General is closely following developments in the negotiations through his Special Adviser, Alexander Downer.Last week, a new road crossing between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities was opened, a step Mr. Downer said proved the pessimists wrong and raised hopes that the island can be reunited.“There is hope that the two leaders now can bring this country together and reunite Cyprus,” he said.The new Limnitis/Yesilirmak crossing in the northwest of the island required upgrading some six kilometres of road and is the seventh such link facilitating movement between the two communities.The peacekeeping mission known as UNFICYP has been in place in Cyprus since 1964 following an outbreak of inter-communal violence. 21 October 2010Noting that process to reunify Cyprus has been slow recently, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the Mediterranean island’s leaders to achieve concrete advances in their talks to maintain momentum in the peace process.

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