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Remarks by Special Advisor of the Secretary-General Alexander Downer following the meeting of Cyprus Leaders at UNFICYP


Transcript of Remarks by Special Advisor of the Secretary-General Alexander Downer following the meeting of Cyprus Leaders at UNFICYP Chief of Mission Residence, United Nations Protected Area, Nicosia, 4 January 2012

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Leaders have had a fairly long meeting today. We focused the discussion on Greentree Two. The progress that has been made since Greentree One and the expectations the United Nations has for Greentree Two and the work that needs to be done between now and Greentree Two and indeed the end of Greentree Two. As you know the next meeting at Greentree is on the 22 nd to the 24 th of January so that’s only three or so weeks from now, a bit under three weeks from now. So, there’s a lot of work to be done in that period and we will be meeting tomorrow with the two sides. I’ll be meeting this afternoon with Mr. Eroglu. I’ll be meeting tomorrow also separately with Mr. Christofias. The Leaders will be meeting again next Monday the 9 th . We’ll be having meetings again with the two sides during the course of next week as well so it is going to be a busy couple of weeks ahead of us and perhaps into the third week, we’re not really sure yet. But certainly the next couple of weeks is going to be a busy time and we are very much looking forward to it.

We are looking forward to something else as well. You might wonder why the representatives stayed behind at the end. Food for conspiracy theories but no, it was actually about food. What we are doing is organizing the dinner, well they are organizing the dinner, which the two Leaders are hosting tomorrow night in Pyla which is going to be in two restaurants. It is going to be in a Greek Cypriot restaurant and also in a Turkish Cypriot restaurant. I am sure the details of that should really be announced by the two sides rather than us but that was why they stayed behind is to finalize the arrangements. The UN’s involvement, as the guests at the dinner, will be that we will arrive a bit before 8 o’clock for the dinner and we look forward very much to this unique experience.

Question : What are the UN’s expectations for Greentree Two and will there be a Greentree Three? Will they have two suppers in Pyla then?

SASG : No, two courses. It’s one of those situations. Three courses, two courses in one restaurant and one in the other but the one in the other will be very substantial. The two will be smaller courses so it will all be perfectly symmetrical and fair.

There is no plan for a Greentree Three, of course not, no. The plan here is to get the Leaders agreeing on core issues by the end of Greentree Two. Obviously they have agreed on some core issues already but the outstanding core issues in the areas of governance and power-sharing, property, territory, citizenship, so particularly focusing on those issues. We hope that by the end of Greentree Two they will have more positive things to say about those issues that they certainly can at the moment. Obviously there are elements in all of those chapters which have been agreed. But there is still, in some cases quite a lot more work to be done and we really want to see that work done by the end of Greentree Two. So, no, we don’t have any plan for a Greentree Three.

Question : You expect all of this work to be done in the next two weeks?

SASG : Well, I have said this on many an occasion. If you can get agreement, we are talking here of core issues, not all the technical detail to be worked out, but core issues which give a clear design of an agreement. This isn’t something that is a function of time. It is something which is a function of politics and decision-making. Can the compromises be found or can’t they? It’s as simple as that. Do you need time to do that? Well, you don’t necessarily need, in theory, need a lot of time to do that. You need to make the compromises. And what compromises will be made and how they will be made. All of that has to be worked out.

Question : Agreement on core issues presupposes some kind of a pre-agreement to the agreement?

SASG : Well, if you agree on core issues then you have a basic design of an agreement. You have a basic design of a solution to the Cyprus problem. Obviously you have to fill in some of the detail, a lot of the detail. But once you have agreed on a design, it’s not going to take so long to fill in the detail. The detail is meaningless if you can’t agree on the design. You are not going to be able to design it the other way around. Agree on the detail and then work out the design. If you are going to build a ship, first of all you have to design the ship. You don’t just go there and start building and hope that what you build looks like a ship when you finish it will float. It’s the same in that one respect, not in any other respect.

Question : Have the two sides exchanged papers regarding a possible solution?

SASG : They haven’t exchanged papers; they have produced draft outline papers on their visions of an agreement and what an agreement would look like. We are having some discussions with them and a certain point, pretty soon, in the next few days, they will exchange those papers.

Question : Does the UN think something could come out of those papers?

SASG : They are constructive pieces of work but both of them are still a work in progress.

Question : Do the papers deal with all the core issues?

SASG : Well as you know, a lot of the issues have been well and truly agreed so they are addressed but in passing. What they are, are outlines of what an agreement would look like.

Question : Can you talk about Greentree and guarantor powers?

SASG : Well, both of them have views about that which are well known. We don’t need to canvass those again today but their positions of those issues are well-known.

Question : If there is no agreement on core issues and no plan for Greentree Three, what next?

SASG : Well, if there is no agreement, then we have complete deadlock. The Secretary-General will obviously have to think about the next steps would be under those circumstances and discuss that with the Leaders.

Question : So this is the last chance for a breakthrough?

SASG : Well this process has not been so much subject to breakthroughs but evolution. It’s been a long process. There is a lot that has been agreed over the three and a third years. Three and a quarter years. But there are still some divergences which need to be resolved and obviously we are working hard to try to, well the Leaders are working hard to try to achieve convergences there. They are going to have to work at that. We will just have to wait and see. I can’t really foreshadow at this stage what exactly would happen. But if they can’t achieve convergences on the outstanding core issues, then you obviously by definition have deadlock. In those circumstances, the Secretary-General will have to talk with the Leaders about what to do next.

Thank you very much.


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