30 June 2017

Opening remarks at press conference on Cyprus

António Guterres

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (right), and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades (left) during Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The reconvening of this conference offers an historic opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement to the conflict that has divided Cyprus for too many decades.

I am glad to be here in Crans-Montana to chair the Conference on Cyprus today.  And I want to thank His Excellency Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot leader, and His Excellency Mr. Mustafa Akıncı, the Turkish Cypriot leader, as well as the three guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, for their determination and commitment to the process.  And I also thank the European Union, which is attending as an observer, for its ongoing support.   

The reconvening of this Conference offers an historic opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement to the conflict that has divided Cyprus for too many decades.  The road back to Switzerland has not been easy, but the path to lasting peace never is.  To get to this point, the leaders have overcome significant challenges and making unprecedented progress, and I salute the determination and common vision which has led them here.  I firmly believe that, through determination and political will, it will be possible to clear this final hurdle and reach a comprehensive settlement.   

The Conference on Cyprus has been ongoing for the past two days.  All participants have declared that they are here to find a solution.  They have also demonstrated an awareness of this historic opportunity and the responsibility they share for a successful outcome.  And I call on the leaders and other participants in the Conference to heed the call for peace of thousands of Cypriots at rallies on the island this week.  The voices in support of a solution are indeed getting louder.   

At the same time, there is no doubt that some sensitive and difficult issues remain to be resolved.  The security and guarantees chapter is of crucial importance for a comprehensive solution.  Discussions over the past few days have again shown that there is a commitment to find mutually acceptable solutions on security and guarantees that address the concerns of both communities. But it is clear that the security of one community cannot come at the expense of the other.   

And I urge all parties to continue in this area, as in all the others, to engage in these critical negotiations with the same constructive and creative spirit that they have displayed so far, taking the bold decisions that are still needed to find common ground.  Those gathered here today – the leaders, the communities in Cyprus, the guarantor powers – have a responsibility to grasp the opportunity for peace and to bring a comprehensive settlement home to Cyprus.  But there is still a lot of work to be done.   

Thank you.