UN Denies it is Readying Cyprus Reunification Blueprint

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ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–U.N. envoy Alexander Downer denied on Wednesday that the United Nations was preparing a blueprint for imposing reunification on Cyprus, but added it will facilitate slow-paced negotiations between the leaders of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities.

Northern Cyprus has been under Turkish occupation since 1974, when Turkish forces invaded the island in a brief war.

“The United Nations isn’t in the game of writing blueprints,” Downer was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters after a meeting between Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias aimed at reaching an agreement to end the island’s decades-long division.

Downer, a former Australian foreign minister who is the U.N. special envoy for Cyprus, sought to quash rumors that plans are in the pipeline to draft a fresh blueprint to reunify Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

“It is for the leaders to negotiate ultimately a comprehensive settlement,” Downer said.

“But you can take it from me that I don’t have any model that I think should be imposed on Cyprus. I am not promoting any particular model privately or publicly,” AFP quoted him as adding.

In 2004, a U.N.-backed reunification plan was scrapped after being rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots but approved by Turkish Cypriots.

Re-launched in September 2008 after a four-year hiatus, Talat and Christofias have been involved in U.N.-sponsored unification talks aimed at reaching an agreement to end the island’s decades-long division. But little progress has been made so far.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon urged the leaders of the divided Mediterranean island to accelerate the pace of the talks in a report released last month.

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