United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in Switzerland from Spain on Wednesday evening, 6 July.
The Secretary-General held his third meeting with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, Dimitris Christofias and Derviş Eroğlu, on Thursday in Geneva. He said afterwards that the meeting was useful and productive. Some of the difficulties standing in the way of reaching a comprehensive agreement were identified, and both leaders made it clear that they are aiming to reach a comprehensive solution as soon as possible.
The Secretary-General stated to Mr. Christofias and Mr. Eroğlu that, while he agrees that the negotiations must be Cypriot-led and Cypriot-owned, he is prepared to offer an enhanced United Nations involvement, without prejudice to this central principle. Both leaders have accepted his offer.
The leaders agreed to enter into an intensive period of negotiations on the core issues when they would return to the island, the Secretary-General added. He said that he has every expectation that, by October, the leaders would be able to report that they had reached convergence on all core issues, and they would meet the Secretary-General that month in New York.
The Secretary-General also launched the 2011 Millennium Development Goals Report that day. He said the Report paints a mixed picture, warning that progress has been uneven, with the poorest of the poor being left behind. (See Press Release SG/SM/13694)
He later spoke to the Geneva press corps, answering questions on Libya, Sudan, the Millennium Development Goals and deforestation.
On Thursday afternoon, the Secretary-General walked through the Innovation Fair at the Palais des Nations, visiting stands run by United Nations bodies, non‑governmental organizations and the private sector on the theme of education.
He also met with Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, before a larger meeting with heads of United Nations funds and programmes, specialized agencies and other international organizations based in Geneva.
The Secretary-General and his delegation departed on Thursday evening for Sudan via Cairo, Egypt.