Statement to the press from the Spokesperson
on behalf of the Secretary-General

Resumption of the Cyprus proximity talks

4 July 2000


The Secretary-General meets tomorrow in Geneva with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to continue the proximity discussions which began in December last year. These discussions have been led on Mr. Annanís behalf by Mr. Alvaro de Soto, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus.

The Process was initiated after a resolution from the Security Council in June 1999 calling for constructive participation by the parties in a new series of talks. Two sets of meetings have taken place so far, in New York in December 1999 and in Geneva last February. Those initial meetings aimed to probe the positions of the parties and to prepare the ground for negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement.

The Secretary-General believes that the process must move on from here in an earnest way. He will be encouraging the parties to engage in a continuous and intensified process of discussions, which will enable them to engage in detailed examination of main issues. He envisages that this process should be ongoing for an extended period into the autumn, with occasional breaks to permit reflection and further preparation as necessary.

The Secretary-General places great importance on the need for confidentiality around the talks. He will repeat the request for a press blackout under which the delegations are asked not to disclose the substance or procedure of the discussions. Based on experience, he sees this as essential for the effectiveness of the process. It is certain, however, that Mr. de Soto, as the sole authoritative source on the content of the talks, will meet with the media at an appropriate point during the coming weeks.

The Secretary-General offers his full support to the parties and to the UN representatives in their efforts to make substantive progress.