United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Nine large Greek and Cypriot American organisations have sent a letter to UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide calling on him to delink any discussion about Cyprus’ energy future from the insistence on Turkey removing its ships from Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The letter is signed by the heads of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, the American Hellenic Institute, UHAC National, AHEPA, PSEKA, Cyprus Federation of America, the Hellenic Federation of New Jersey and the American Hellenic Council.
Greeks and Cypriots of America express their “concern over your response to the latest provocations by Turkey in Cyprus”.
“It was with great optimism that we greeted the joint statement earlier this year, and then the appointment of a Special Adviser with your level of experience and integrity”, they note, expressing their commitment “to a reunified Cyprus as envisioned by UN Security Council resolutions, and a process that results in a workable and lasting plan that secures a better future for all Cypriots”.
Unfortunately, they continue, “your reaction to date to Turkey’s violation of the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial waters and EEZ leaves us less confident about the efforts to reunify Cyprus than we have been for over a year”.
“While we can appreciate attempts to deescalate tensions via quiet diplomacy, we fear that the extraordinary attempts your team and others are going through to avoid calling Turkey’s actions a provocation and statements that effectively blame the victim – the Republic of Cyprus and Greek-Cypriots in this case – are taking the process backwards”, they point out.
We will not recite the 40 year history of illegal invasion and occupation, as it is plainly laid out in UN resolutions. Our desire is to get past that tragic history. We do not have details of your quiet diplomacy and have not had the pleasure of meeting with you as of yet, but the actions you are taking and statements you are making during this last crisis come close to sanctioning Turkey’s continued blackmail of Cyprus.
They continue noting that they too favour “the resumption of negotiations and envision a reunified Cyprus where Greek and Turkish Cypriots benefit from all that Cyprus has to offer as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus”.
That vision, they point out “will never become a reality via the barrel of Turkey’s gun”.
“We hereby request that you delink any discussion about Cyprus’ energy future from the insistence on Turkey removing its ships from Cyprus’ EEZ”.
They also express their readiness to meet with Eide and discuss “how we can be helpful to your efforts and have an open airing of views on how to reunify Cyprus”.
Cyprus, an EU member state, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and continue to occupy 37% of its territory.
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades decided to suspend his participation in the UN-backed negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem, after Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros illegally entered Cyprus` EEZ to conduct research, a few days after Turkey issued a maritime order (NAVTEX) for the area.