President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso believes that there is now a genuine opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem, and calls on both sides in Cyprus to contribute to the creation of a positive climate.
Barroso chaired a meeting of the Cyprus Steering Group in Brussels. today. The Group assessed the situation ahead of the expected resumption of settlement talks in October. The Group also reviewed the parameters of the European Commission’s provision of technical advice to the negotiation process under UN auspices.
The Group expressed full support for UNSG Ban Ki-moon and his Special Adviser to bring the process to a successful end.
“I strongly believe we have a genuine opportunity to solve the Cyprus issue once and for all. I very much expect that fully-fledged negotiations will be re-launched in October and that talks will quickly move into substance,” Barroso notes in a written statement.
He adds that “all parties are encouraged to contribute to establishing a positive climate between the communities.”
“I am convinced that the benefits of reunification will outweigh any concessions that will need to be made to this end.
It is therefore essential to prepare the public for the necessary compromises and ensure the involvement of civil society. The European Commission stands ready to further strengthen its support for the process, should the two parties request it and UN agree,” he says.
The Cyprus Steering Group was established by Barroso in January 2009 as a means of the European Commission to support the settlement talks and coordinate positions on EU related aspects of a settlement.
In this context, in July 2012, Barroso appointed Pieter Van Nuffel as his personal representative to the UN Good Offices Mission in Cyprus led by Alexander Downer, the Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon