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Strasbourg, 13 December 2011
Meeting of the Cyprus Steering Group
On 13 December the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso chaired a meeting of the Cyprus Steering Group in Strasbourg. The Group discussed developments related to the ongoing settlement talks following the recent meeting of the UN Secretary-General with the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus on 30 and 31 October in New York. The Group also looked into the remaining issues in the EU negotiation chapter, which the parties still need to agree upon. It reiterated its full support for UNSG Ban Ki-moon's efforts to work with the two sides to finalise the process and reach a comprehensive settlement.
President Barroso stated that "the settlement negotiations are now at a decisive stage. The Commission encourages both leaders to conclude their talks successfully in the coming months. The January meeting of the two leaders with the UN Secretary-General should become a landmark on the way to a solution to the Cyprus issue. There is no time to lose after 37 years of de facto division. The EU would like to see soon a united Cyprus."
The Cyprus Steering Group was established by President Barroso in January 2009 as a means of the European Commission to support the settlement talks and coordinate positions on EU related aspects of a settlement. In this context, in July 2011, President Barroso appointed Jorge César das Neves as his personal representative to the UN Good Offices Mission in Cyprus led by Alexander Downer, the Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.