United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Photos: GANP/Dimitrios Panagos
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres concluded his meetings – on the sidelines of the General Assembly – with all involved in the Cyprus negotiations and it seems like he drew the conclusion to prolong the “reflection” period, until at the Presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus, late January. Guterres met last week Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, British Prime Minister Teresa May, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and on Saturday the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
According to well informed diplomatic sources, Guterres said to Anastasiades that Erdogan told him that it’s too early to restart the negotiations, because he is having other priorities (i.e. Kurdish referendum, Syria, etc). In addition he is waiting for the completions of the electoral processes in Germany and Austria, to see if there is a chance to improve his relationship with the EU.
“It is obvious that the upcoming period before the Greek Cypriot elections is not conducive for a new attempt”, T/c leader Mustafa Akinci told the journalists, following his meeting with Guterres. He suggested that confidence building measures can play important role during this period of time.
According a readout from the UNSG’s Spokesman office, following the meeting with Akinci, “the Secretary-General reiterated the United Nations’ commitment to Cyprus, including the availability of his good offices for a resumption of the talks as soon as the sides demonstrate their readiness to re-engage.”
In the beginning of October, the SG is expected to submit his good offices report to the Security Council and in November he is expected to submit to the Council an assessment on the strategic review of UNFICYP.
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has expressed satisfaction over the meetings he held in New York, in the framework of the UN General Assembly.
Speaking after a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on Friday, President Anastasiades pointed out the important role the UN chief and the permanent members of the Security Council play in “preparing the ground for the resumption of talks, as well as the effective guarantee of the implementation of a possible solution of the Cyprus issue.”
President Anastasiades said his meeting with Guterres was constructive and that they discussed how the effort for a solution could continue.
“I expressed the readiness of our side to continue the effort for a solution of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the framework Guterres presented in Crans Montana, without disregarding the relevant UN resolutions, the EU principles and values, with the aim being a viable, functional, and normal state,” he said.
President Anastasiades also said it was necessary for the Turkish side to clarify its position and pointed out to Guterres that confidence building measures would be helpful in the direction of improving the climate.
They also discussed Guterres’ upcoming report on his good offices mission, and exchanged views on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
The President informed Guterres on unilateral actions by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, such as Friday’s decision to impose fees on the aid sent via the UN to the Greek Cypriots in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the Republic.
President Anastasiades made clear to Guterres that nothing was agreed on until everything was agreed on.
He furthermore said that next week he would be convening the National Council – the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus issue – for a full briefing regarding his contacts in New York.
The President also said that the Cyprus problem was not Turkey’s priority and that for the time being any thoughts about a plan B were put on hold.
President Anastasiades furthermore referred to his meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, which focused on the Cyprus issue. He met with US Vice President Mike Pence, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Russia, and China, among others.
He also met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with whom he discussed, apart from the Cyprus problem, energy issues and the forthcoming meeting between the heads of government of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece.