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You are here:   Home Daily News Cyprus News English Our View: UN is stepping up the pressure

Our View: UN is stepping up the pressure

THERE ARE many ways of interpreting the latest report on the peace process by the UN Secretary-General. The general consensus would be that it is not very different from his report of three months ago, as it goes over the same issues and contains similar observations and concerns. Others could say that there are signs of growing impatience with the slow pace of the talks and that Ban Ki-moon was gradually stepping up the pressure on the two leaders, whom he urged to ‘demonstrate courageous leadership’?

Were President Christofias’ efforts to secure an ‘objective’ report realised? For weeks now, he had been calling for an ‘objective’ report and he sent a top diplomat to New York to push for this at the UN. Was the report satisfactorily objective in the end, or did it have a pro-Turkish bias, because there was no mention of Dervis Eroglu’s attempt to change the basis of the negotiations? Again, this is a matter of interpretation, for which there is no single, clear answer.

There is however the introduction of a new element in the report – the dreaded international conference, which Ban refers to as a ‘multilateral meeting’. He wrote: “When I deem it appropriate and in consultation with both sides, I will determine if there has been sufficient progress on the core issues within and across chapters to warrant the convening of a multilateral meeting.” This meeting, which Christofias and the majority of the political parties have vehemently opposed, would be the final phase of the procedure as it would discuss international treaties in the security and guarantees chapter.

The report states that the “parameters of such a meeting are still being discussed by the two leaders,” but adds that Ban would decide when to convene it, “in consultation with both sides”. That the multilateral meeting is now on the agenda is another indication of the UN’s determination to push the current process towards a conclusion, a point repeatedly made in the report.

Ban reminded the two sides that now was the time for the ‘hard choices’ to be made and repeated his earlier assertion that “the negotiations cannot be an open-ended process, nor can we afford interminable talks for the sake of talks.” In his final conclusion, he noted that ‘preliminary internal discussions’ about the UN presence in Cyprus had been initiated, hinting that UNFICYP’s continued presence on the island could not be taken for granted.

This was yet another way of stepping up the pressure on the two sides and reminding them that, one way or the other, we were approaching the end of the procedure. The forceful tone adopted by Ban in the report, was, undoubtedly, intended to stress the point.

 



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