Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA)
President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has expressed the determination of the Greek Cypriot side for the successful conclusion of the forthcoming informal conference on Cyprus, as well as the hope that Turkey will demonstrate the same willingness.
The President, who was addressing the extraordinary teleconference of the European Council that took place 25 and 26 of February, highlighted the particularly important role that the European Union has to play, taking into account that the reunited Cyprus will continue to be an EU member state after the solution of the Cyprus issue.
According to a press release by the Presidency, the heads of state and government of the EU discussed on Friday about issues relating to defense and security, as well as Southern Neighbourhood.
He stressed the Greek Cypriot side`s determination for a successful conclusion of the forthcoming informal conference on Cyprus, under the auspices of the UN, and expressed the hope that Turkey will show the same willingness. In this context, he highlighted the particularly significant role the European Union has to play, taking into account that a reunited Cyprus will continue to be an EU member state after the solution of the Cyprus problem, the press release says.
Last Wednesday, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, said in a written statement, that “following the consultations conducted on behalf of the Secretary-General by a senior UN official, Ms. Jane Holl Lute, over the past several months, the Secretary-General intends to convene an informal five-plus-one meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27 to 29 April 2021.”
Furthermore, he noted that “the purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon.”
“We are not in the business of giving ultimatums, as if `you don’t get, we’ll give up if something doesn’t happen`”, said UN Secretary General`s Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric on Thursday, when asked about the upcoming informal meeting on Cyprus.
In a question whether the UN will give up this time if they don`t get anything (done), Dujarric said that “if you look at the evenflow of our efforts on Cyprus, there have been ups, there have been flows”.
“Ms. Jane Holl Lute has been consulting with the parties. We think this is an opportune time. It’s an informal meeting and we very much hope there will be a positive outcome”, he pointed out.
S.G.’s advisor in the negotiations Jane Holl Lute, will visit the island on March 7-9, to hold meetings with the two sides, in the framework of the preparation for the informal 5+1 meeting on Cyprus scheduled to take place in Geneva, on April 27-29, CNA has learned.
During her visit, Lute will hold meetings with Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar. She is also expected to hold meetings with the two sides` negotiators. Before her meetings with the sides, Lute will meet with the UNSG`s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, and the members of the team on the Cyprus problem at the UNSG`s good offices mission, to be briefed on developments and meetings taking place on the ground.
The timing of conference – which will take place almost a month after the progress report of the European Union High Representative Josep Borrell on Turkey and the March 25-26 summit – is seen to reflect the efforts of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to avoid a possible negative impact on the Cyprus talks
The EU has in the past participated in the 5+1 process on the Cyprus issue and will remain committed to the issue as it believes that it can indeed play a positive and fruitful role for greater progress in the region, European Council President Charles Michel stated after the end of the 2nd day of the EU27 summit teleconference.
Michel was asked by CNA to explain how the EU will take into account the developments in relation to Turkey in the whole debate on EU security and defence and what role the EU should play in the forthcoming 5+1 conference on the Cyprus issue.
He noted that “you know that we intend to have again in March a strategic debate for the situation in the Eastern Med and the relationship between the EU and Turkey. And we will prepare this debate the next weeks”.
And of course, he added, “you know that Turkey is a member of NATO, it is an important element, and at the same time it is not a secret that the last months we had some difficulties with Turkey, but our goal, taking under consideration the last conclusions, the last decisions that were taken all together at the European level, is to have again this debate in March and to take again decisions together on this issue on March.”
“About the UN process, you are right, in the past the EU has played a role as an observer and we will still be an observer in this 5+1 process regarding the Cyprus settlement,” Michel said. He noted that “we are going to be very committed as EU because we think indeed that we can play a positive role, a fruitful role in order to support all the positive efforts in order to have more progress in the region.”
He posed the question “what do we want for the region?”, replying: “More stability and predictability.”
“We know that there are some difficulties, some disputes, and we will try to do our best in order to protecτ the Εuropean interest, the interest of the member states and also to give more stability and predictability in this important region for us,” Chαrles Michel concluded.
The Greek Foreign Ministry noted that the aim of the conference is to find common ground that will lead to substantial negotiations for the settlement of the Cyprus issue.
“This solution should be based on UN Security Council resolutions, be compatible with European law and lead to a functioning and sustainable bi-communal, bi-zonal Federation,” it said, adding that Greece, as a guarantor power, intends to make a constructive contribution to efforts to achieve conference’s goal.
For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara’s intention to scrap what has been the basis for talks on a settlement that was agreed to and backed by the UN in the aftermath of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the island’s northern part. He said that the federation-based solution has been discussed for 50 years to no avail and that various settlement plans appeared. Turkey, he said, supported these plans but the “efforts failed” because of the Greek Cypriots, “who do not want to share anything with the Turkish side.”
“Since we cannot agree on the federation, we must meet to discuss what issue we will hold talks on and find a formula for a permanent solution,” he said.
The UK believes that the parameter of political equality between the two communities in Cyprus cannot by itself determine the success of the efforts to reach a settlement to the long-standing division of the island, a UK Government source said.
Asked by the Cyprus News Agency, the government official noted that “you can’t single out one issue as the key to achieving a settlement.”
Officials in London have confirmed that the UK remains a supporter of the bizonal, bicommunal federation as the settlement model for Cyprus, and that it sees its role in the process of the new settlement efforts as “helping to reach convergence”.
Whether within this role there has been a formal, comprehensive new plan submitted, as it has been reported, officials in London have refused to confirm.
“The job of the UN and of countries like the UK which want to try and find a solution, is to try and help the parties narrow down where they have convergence, where there are areas of common interest. There is a pathway through that if everyone comes with good will,” a British diplomatic source told CNA.