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Cyprob solution difficult but achievable: Downer

28 March 2014

Alexander Downer, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser in Cyprus, speaking at a press conference on Thursday has said that the negotiation process in the Cyprus talks was in good shape and that there was progress.

Downer steps down from his post as UN Special Advisor around the end of April and says that he will be making an end of assignment report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before he leaves.

He said that the presidents of North and South Cyprus had demonstrated commitment and courage, adding that important achievements have been made in the past five years, including “convergences between the two sides on a large number of issues” which represent “at the very least a strong foundation for the talks”.

Both leaders can now build on the “positive momentum” at their next meeting on Monday.

He described President Anastasiades as “a very effective politician and a very seasoned, intelligent and able politician”.

Downer, referring to President Eroglu said: “He is a good politician as well, he has a very good sense of his own community, a very good feel for his community. He is very good with people and that is an important skill for a politician, and I think he can carry his community with him as well.”

“On the basis of what I know about the positions of the two sides, this is a deal that can be done,” he said adding that whether or not it will be done “we don`t know, but it can be done”.

Referring to the potential benefits of re-unification, mindful of the hydrocarbon finds in the Eastern Mediterranean, he said: “Do the math. If Cyprus were reunited it would lead to substantial investments to the island.

“Economic circumstances, harsh as they are, can and have reminded people that a solution is beneficial for the island,” said Downer.

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