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UN chief set to open next month 'crucial phase' of negotiations on Cyprus

28 October 2016 – The Turkish Cypriot leader and the Greek Cypriot leader will head to Switzerland early next month for a meeting that will be opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and will kick-off an intensive week of negotiations of the Cyprus talks, a senior UN envoy announced today.

According to the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, the week of negotiations will be held at Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland, and begin on 7 November. The talks will focus on the chapter of territory.

According to a statement issued by the Secretary-General's Good Offices Mission in Cyprus, the dialogue, supported by the Government of Switzerland, is first time that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, are negotiating the issue of territory directly, marking a critical juncture in the current process.

"It is important to recognize the particular sensitivity of this chapter for both sides, which is a key reason why the leaders have agreed to hold the talks outside of Cyprus, and why they want to conduct them interdependently with other relevant chapters," noted the statement.

It added that the two leaders have jointly expressed their hope that the meeting in Switzerland will pave the way for the last phase of the talks, in line with their shared commitment to do their utmost in order to reach a settlement within 2016.

The statement further noted that Mr. Ban has been closely following the Cyprus negotiations throughout his tenure and looks forward to lending his personal support to the work of the two leaders as they are entering this crucial phase of their negotiations.

Mr. Ban's tenure as the UN Secretary-General finishes at the end of this year and he will be replaced by Antonio Guterres of Portugal, who was appointed as the next Secretary-General by the UN General Assembly earlier this month.

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