Presidents probably meet on 29th May: Downer says

UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer said that the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus will be meeting on May 29.

He also said that talks on the Cyprus problem will gradually evolve from then on.

Mr Downer, having been greeted by President Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace told reporters that he had been relaying details of his visits to Athens and Ankara and his meetings with Foreign Ministers and official there.

“These were pretty constructive talks with both of them, I feel the atmosphere was good, they obviously understand the economic situation in Cyprus, but both of these countries seem to be very committed to seeing a solution negotiated in Cyprus. We had a very good discussion about that and I have been able to pass on a lot of observations from these visits to President Anastasiades”, he said.

Asked if he is carrying any special message from Ankara, Downer replied that “various things were said in Ankara and I have been able to pass a lot of that on and obviously we hope that these will all be part of a hopeful dynamic”.

To a question if they have finalized the date of the meeting between the two leaders, Downer replied that “it is not exactly signed or sealed but it is almost certainly going to be on the 29th of May”.

The two leaders, he said, will have dinner which will be hosted by the UN at the residence of the UN Chief of Mission, the UNPA.

Asked how he expected talks to move forward, Downer said “we expect to have a dinner and that will be an opportunity for the newly -elected President to meet with Mr (Dervis) Eroglu – of course they met before – and that will be an opportunity for them to get together, it will be in a social setting, so this won’t be a negotiating session”.

Downer said “we will gradually take things forward here”.

However, he underlined that as he had said last week “everyone has to understand the huge challenges that more broadly, Greek Cypriots have to face just at the moment as they are dealing with the repercussions coming from the Troika. So that’s what to concentrate on”.

Downer also said that during his contacts in Ankara there has not been “much focus on the natural gas issue”, and refuted a newspaper report that he discussed a natural gas pipeline from Turkey, adding “there was no such discussion at all”.

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