Istanbul.- By Anna Andreou/CNA
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said he is “determined to do his best” to help the two communities in Cyprus find a negotiated settlement to reunite the country, adding that a breakthrough must address the security concerns of both communities.
“Turkey is one of the guarantor powers in the Conference for the unity Cyprus. I am hopeful that the efforts of the two communities will continue and they will be meeting at the highest level and the efforts of the guarantor powers will allow for a breakthrough in the near future,” the UN Secretary General said, speaking at a joint press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim Binali, in Istanbul, on Friday.
A breakthrough, he explained, which will be able to “fully respect the concerns of the Turkish Cypriot community about its security and at the same time is compatible with the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community.”
“We believe that it will be possible to find solutions for the range of issues that are still outstanding and the UN will be entirely at the disposal of the two Cypriot communities and of the guarantor powers to support in the search of a solution that is acceptable for all,” he stressed.
Asked about an exact date for a Conference on Cyprus, Guterres noted that “the two leaders of the communities are meeting every week now and are making progress in relation to outstanding issues that need to be solved between the two communities.”
At the same time, he said, “we have security and guarantees package that will have to be discussed with the guarantors. The two processes are inter-linked and so there is not yet a date fixed for the conference but we will be working together in order to make sure that from this inter-linkage we come to the best possible chances of success.”
“Usually when I am asked if I am optimistic or pessimistic about the process I answer with the famous quote by Jean Monnet “I am not optimistic, I am not pessimistic, I am just determined”. I am determined to do my best, knowing that the role of the UN is not the leading role. The leading role is at the communities and the guarantors. We are in a supporting role but I am determined to do my best to help facilitate the conditions for a success,” the UN chief added.
The Turkish PM said that Turkey has always maintained a constructive stance on the Cyprus issue and will continue to do so.
He reiterated that Ankara will not give up on the issue of security and guarantees, adding that “each side in Cyprus will have to be equally and fairly represented in the new structure to be set up.”
Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides has described the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres` visit to Turkey as important, noting that this takes place in the framework of the Secretary General`s will to play a more active role in the process for a Cyprus settlement and in other issues which concern the UN.
In statements to the media on Friday, Christodoulides noted that certainly the Cyprus problem will be among the two issues that will prevail during Guterres` discussions in Ankara, adding that the Cyprus government is in constant contact with the UN Secretariat and the UNSG himself. “We are hopeful that his meetings (in Turkey) will produce results which will allow us to be optimistic about the continuation of the process,” he added.
Invited to say if he believes that Turkey will be more flexible in its positions after the referendum at the country, in April, the Spokesman said that there are assessments according to which no move should be expected from Turkey before the referendum on the constitutional amendments in the country, while on the other hand assurances are given from Turkish officials and are being conveyed by the UNSG`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide that the referendum does not influence developments in the Cyprus problem.
Christodoulides said the government cannot address the Cyprus talks based on assessments and added that everything will be judged at the negotiating table.
Responding to a question, Christodoulides said that during the meeting between Cyprus President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Thursday, in the framework of the UN-led talks on the Cyprus problem, Akinci put forward the issue of the four fundamental freedoms but President Anastasiades refused to discuss it.
As regards the next session of the Conference on Cyprus, the Spokesman said that is has not been decided yet when it will take place, adding that it will certainly not take place before the 13th of March.