posted on Tue 6 Sep 2011 10:44 AM
Cyprus Briefing

Tomorrow (7 September) Council members are scheduled to have a briefing on Cyprus by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Alexander Downer, via video-conference. It seems the main focus of the briefing will be on the Secretary-General’s assessment report on the status of negotiations in Cyprus. At press time it did not seem like there would be any Council action following the briefing.

In his report, which was published on 8 August, the Secretary-General indicated that “time was not on the side of a solution” and that the Cypriots were losing faith in the process. Overall his report conveyed a sense of urgency and underlined the need for the Cypriot and Turkish leaders to reach a solution soon.

The leaders have met 100 times since September 2008. However, it seems that little progress has been made since the Secretary-General’s last report in March. There are some convergences on international treaties and internal security but little movement on property and citizenship issues. At the 7 July meeting with the Secretary-General, the leaders agreed to intensify talks and push for a conclusion as soon as possible. The Secretary-General appears to be hoping that at his next meeting with the leaders in October in New York they will report convergence on all core issues.

It seems the Council is still split between those wanting to push both sides to conclude quickly, preferably by the end of the year, and those that think that the Secretary-General should not push if they are not willing. There is also a sense among some Council members that intensified talks do not necessarily mean that the parties are actually closer on difficult core issues such as territory and power sharing.