Commendation for Cypriot leaders

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus (left), and Mustafa Akinci, Leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community (right). UN Photo/Isaac Billy.

The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been praised by the UN Secretary-General for their efforts to reach a settlement for the divided island.

Ban Ki-moon met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akýncý and Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades in New York on Sunday.

The UN has been working for more than 50 years to bridge differences between the two sides.

Dianne Penn reports.

The Secretary-General commended the two leaders for progress achieved so far in the ongoing negotiations to find a solution in Cyprus.

Speaking to journalists at the UN, Ban Ki-moon said both leaders have asked him to step up his engagement in the process.

He said he is ready to support them in whatever they may require.

“I very much welcome their joint commitment to intensify efforts even further, in line with their stated desire to achieve a comprehensive settlement in 2016. I encouraged both leaders to continue to engage in the process with determination, courage and creativity. They informed me that they intend to further intensify their negotiations upon their return to Cyprus. I urged them to make the most of this opportunity, in order to resolve their outstanding issues, without delay, in earnest."

The UN chief also used the opportunity to address the latest developments in Syria.

Mr Ban stated that he was appalled by the recent military escalation in Aleppo.

The city, he said, is facing the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict more than five years ago.

The UN chief said the violence has reached "new depths of barbarity."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28″

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