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September 23, 10

NEWS / Cyprus settlement could foster peace in wider region, Turkish leader tells UN

23 September 2010 – Reaching a “just and lasting settlement” on divisions between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots could propel peace and stability in the greater region, Turkey’s President told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate today.

United Nations-led reunification talks began in 2008 after the then-leaders of the two communities committed themselves to working towards a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions.

“Any positive outcome emerging from these negotiations would rapidly transform the Eastern Mediterranean into a pillar of peace, stability, cooperation and welfare within the European Union,” President Abdullah Gül stressed in an address to the Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York.

Turkey, he said, shares Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s vision that a settlement is within reach before the end of the year.

“But this process should not be open-ended,” Mr. Gül emphasized.

The Turkish Cypriot side, he said, has demonstrated that it is in favour of a settlement, “but they continue to suffer unjustly” from the lack of an agreement.

“I would like to repeat the call made by the UN Secretary-General to the international community to take the necessary steps to eliminate the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and to enable their integration with the world,” the President said.

In his address, he also called on UN Member States to explore the possibility of setting up a mechanism to address natural disasters, food shortages and epidemics.

“This would also help maintain international peace and security by mitigating the threats stemming from weak governance, collapse of public order and domestic or inter-State conflicts over diminishing natural resources,” Mr. Gül noted.

Dedicating just a small fraction of nations’ defence expenditures to financing this new mechanism could more cost-effectively achieve results in maintaining global peace and stability, he said.

“Moreover,” the Turkish leader said, “If we could pool some of our defence equipment that lost its effective utilization in military terms but are still relevant disaster relief operations, we would swiftly build the said rapid reaction capability.”


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