British and US officials will also be visiting the island this week trying to reverse impasse in Mont Pelerin.
Nicosia.- (CNA, GreekNewsOnline)
Efforts to continue the UN-led peace talks on Cyprus continue on Monday week, with the focal point being the return to the island of the UN Secretary General`s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, who arrives on Sunday. British and US officials will also be visiting Cyprus in the coming days.
On Monday morning Eide will be received by President Nicos Anastasiades and later on he will have a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. The two leaders have been engaged in negotiations since May 2015, under UN aegis. The latest round of intensive talks, at Mont Pelerin, ended inconclusively on Tuesday.
Since then both leaders have said they wish to resume the dialogue to find a negotiated settlement to reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
Eide is likely to have separate meetings with the leader of the ruling Democratic Rally DISY party Averof Neofytou and the General Secretary of the main opposition party AKEL Andros Kyprianou.
He may also meet with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, though this has not been confirmed yet. Johnson is set to have talks at the Foreign Ministry not only on the Cyprus question but also on Brexit and other issues of mutual interest.
Eide, who has not set a date for his departure as this would depend on the outcome of his contacts here, will probably talk to the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Republican party too, according to well informed sources.
Meanwhile, no meetings have been set for next week between the negotiators of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Euroasian Affairs Jonathan Cohen, will be visiting Cyprus and Greece December 1st. He is expected to have a meeting with Mavroyiannis and Foreign Ministry officials, as well as representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community.
BAN TAKES CHARGE
Eide’s return to Cyprus follows last week’s efforts by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to save the stalled Cyprus negotiations from collapsing. After he received a briefing from his Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide on Tuesday, Ban Ki-moon issued a statement encouraging the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, to do their utmost to overcome the hurdle of lack of agreement on the criteria for territorial adjustment in Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland.
SG Ban spoke on Wednesday with both President Anastasiades and Mr Akinci offering his good offices to assist in any way the two leaders wish in order to move the peace process forward, as it stated in a UN readout about the phone calls.
“The Secretary-General called on both leaders to reflect on the situation following the impasse they had reached and to carefully consider the next steps in order to bring the process back on track.
The Secretary-General emphasized that it was not uncommon for peace processes to be confronted with crises, particularly at the last difficult stretch. The Secretary-General encouraged Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı to rise above the mounting pressures and be courageous in overcoming the challenges.
The Secretary-General recalled the common determination and vision both leaders shared when he met them at the opening of the first round of the talks at Mont Pelerin, Switzerland on 7 November. The Secretary-General encouraged Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı to continue the negotiations and strive to achieve an agreement this year for the sake of future generations.”
Meanwhile U.S. Vice President Biden also held telephome conversations with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci. According to a readout issued by the White House, “The Vice President encouraged the leaders to continue negotiations and expressed his confidence in the leaders’ ability to secure a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation to the benefit of all Cypriots.”
Cyprus is a small country and has not the luxury to remain divided, the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades said, Friday. He pledged to do everything in his power for the country`s reunification and for the removal of Turkish occupation troops.
Speaking in Limassol, the President also expressed hope that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will be able to share their joint cultural heritage. “We lived for centuries in peace and without problems and we can live” together again, as long as we create propitious conditions that will allow peaceful coexistence, he noted.
He also said that it was imperative to restore trust between the two communities and to realize that Cypriots have many qualities, whether they belong to one community or the other. Cooperation can become the source of creativity and happiness in the future, not so much for us, but for our children and grandchildren, the President underlined.
Concluding his off-the-cuff remarks, the President of Cyprus said he felt strongly about this and promised to work hard for people to feel that they belong in this country and will live here in peace.
“This is a historic opportunity for the people of the island, for the region, for Europe; it cannot be missed”, says EU High representative Federica Mogherini, after publishing the readout of a telephone call she had a few hours ago with both Cypriot leaders Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akıncı.
Both leaders updated her on the state of play of the talks following their discussions in Mont Pèlerin.
According to the call readout, Federica Mogherini expressed the EU`s continuous support to the process under the auspices of the UN and Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide, “and to the remarkable efforts of the two leaders”.
“Both leaders confirmed their determination to continue the process. This is a historic opportunity for the people of the island, for the region, for Europe; it cannot be missed”, stated Federica Mogherini.
The European Commission is following the developments in the Cyprus talks very closely, European Commission Chief Spokesman, Margarit Schinas said on Friday, recalling that President Juncker had a phone conversation with President Anastasiades two days ago.
The Chief Spokesman invited to comment on the recent developments, stressing out that “the Commission reiterates its confidence at both leaders` strong commitment to put an end in the longstanding Cyprus problem and invites both parties to continue their negotiations as it now seems to be the case”.
“Both leaders know well that they can count on President Juncker`s and the Commission`s full backing for the settlement process under the UN auspices and we stand ready to support practical assistance both parties and the UN may need in this process”, said Margaritis Schinas.
“It is of course obvious that a solution to the partition problem will be beneficial across the EU and beyond and that`s why President Juncker and his team are so involved and supportive”, the Chief Spokesman said.
The Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II expressed his support to the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades in the UN-backed negotiations he conducts with T/c leader Mustafa Akinci, in order to defend the rights of the Greek Cypriots. However, he said that he is not optimistic that a solution could be reached.
The Archbishop met on Friday with President Anastasiades in the Presidential Palace and they discussed the latest developments in the negotiations.
Replying to a question, he said that he supports the President in order to have the strength to negotiate and defend the rights of the Greek Cypriots.
Cyprus foreign minister insists talks haven’t collapsed
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides insisted Friday that reunification talks with Turkish Cypriots “have not collapsed.”
Addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Nicosia Friday, Kasoulides clarified, however, that a multi-party summit cannot go ahead unless Greek and Turkish Cypriots agree on the fundamental issues of territory and property.
He said that the Turkish side wants a multi-party summit that doesn’t solve these issues but rather bags them together with the issues of security which concern a third party, Turkey, “but not what we want.”
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said there is scope for a resumption of negotiations “that will bear fruit,” possibly by the end of the year.
AKEL and the Unified European Left group at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe underlined Friday the importance of resuming settlement talks in Cyprus.
AKEL Secretary General Andros Kyprianou and UEL Chair Tiny Kox met Friday in Nicosia and discussed Cyprus developments, with Kox underlining that a Cyprus solution would be important for Europe.
Kyprianou accepted an invitation by Kox to visit Strasbourg for contacts with Group members.
“Our wish is that negotiations resume the soonest possible and, in case this is possible, to conclude, always on the basis of the principles agreed” said the leader of AKEL after the meeting.
He also thanked Kox for his support to the efforts for a Cyprus solution, and for everything he does for Cyprus and its people.
A Cyprus solution is extremely important for this country and its citizens, but it has also tremendous importance for Europe, said the UEL Chair, while noting that “this country has been divided for far too long”.
If Cyprus solves its problem, it is going to help solving the problems of many other countries, he added.
This could also back people`s enthusiasm to always maintain their goal, and underline that the reunification of a divided country is possible, Kox noted.
He said finally that UEL has always supported the reunification of the island under fair terms and noted the important role AKEL plays towards this direction. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks aim at finding a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.