No start date for Cyprob talks yet: Downer

UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, met with President Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace today and held a press conference afterwards. He said that:

“The negotiators will continue to meet to prepare the way and I look forward to meeting them during the course of next week as well. I will host another dinner for the two representatives on Monday night and I will have a meeting with them on Monday and Wednesday, so we will obviously discuss how they are getting on in their discussions, but they have had several rounds of discussions already.”

In answer to a question about divergences of methodology between the two sides, Downer agreed that there was a gap which needed to be bridged; work on that would follow next week.

He said that when the all preparations are complete for the negotiations, a date would be announced. Currently there was no particular date set for the start of negotiations. Downer reminded the press that both leaders met for dinner in May and that their representatives had met several times in recent weeks and would continue to meet. When it was felt that the time was right, the leaders would meet again when appropriate.

The UN envoy refused to be drawn into details on how the talks would proceed, saying that he would leave the leaders to comment on that, although he agreed that methodology was important. When asked what the representatives of both sides would be saying in their joint statement, Downer hedged by saying that it depended upon what they had negotiated.

When asked what was holding up the talks, Downer refused to make any public statement on that issue.

He was asked that, as he had visited Ankara, if he had had any response from Turkey about the Greek Cypriot proposal to open up Maras to Greek Cypriot re-settlement. He replied that he had been in discussions with the Turks and the Turkish Cypriots and other on a variety of issues but again, would not make any comment on it.

In response to a question as to whether or not the gas finds in the South were any part of the package, Downer said that there had been no discussion on that subject.

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