United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said on Monday Turkish and Greek leaders of Cyprus must make more effort if a peace deal is to be successfully concluded and that both had pledged to work on a deal as soon as possible.
The United Nations has been trying inconclusively for years to end decades of conflict between Turkish and Turkish Cypriots which has impeded Turkey's ambition to join the European Union, where Greek Cypriots represent Cyprus in the bloc.
"We will need even more courage and determination in the period ahead to bring these talks to a successful conclusion," Ban told a news conference at a U.N. compound in Nicosia, the island's capital.
Flanked by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and, Ban said, "I'm encouraged that the two leaders personally assured me of their shared commitment for a comprehensive solution as early as possible."
Talat and Christofias started a new round of peace talks in September 2008.
Underscoring political sensitivities on the island, Greek Cypriots were riled when Ban visited Talat at his presidential office in northern Cyprus.
Four Greek Cypriot political parties said they would not attend a reception given by Ban on Monday evening.
Ban, who took no questions during a brief news conference, said he was convinced the leaders could achieve a solution.
"No one is under the illusion any of this is easy. Peace negotiations never are. But the time is ripe to push ahead," he said.
The United Nations acts as a facilitator in talks, and last week announced "significant progress" on some aspects of how the two sides could govern the island together in a future two-zone federation.
ReutersLast Mod: 01 Şubat 2010, 21:53