United Nations.- Greeknewsonline.com
In an exclusive interview with Associate Press UN Correspondent Edith Lederer, UN Secretary General Ban KI-moon said he has been spending a lot of time and energy on the reunification of Cyprus, which is the only other divided country besides the Korean peninsula.
Talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, facilitated by the U.N., are “moving smoothly and well,” Ban said, and he’s hoping that an agreement on reunifying the divided Mediterranean island may happen before his term ends.
He also pointed to the six-decade-old conflict in Colombia which is now being resolved, and where the U.N. is set to play a role in implementing the cease-fire agreement.
“Now watching all these long, longstanding crises in Colombia and Cyprus are now coming closer to a resolution, I feel much more sorry and regretful that something which is relating to my own home country is not happening — even getting more and more difficult situation,” Ban said.
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said that further progress was recorded during Saturday`s meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, in relation to outstanding issues in the chapter of governance. He said at the same time that he was “cautiously optimistic”.
Early on Saturday afternoon, the two Cyprus leaders concluded their seventh meeting, in the framework of intensified settlement talks, in the presence of Espen Barth Eide, the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser for Cyprus.
Returning to the Presidential Palace after the talks, President Anastasiades told reporters that on the basis of estimates so far, he expects to proceed with future planning on September 14 “in order to reach convergences in all pending issues”.
Asked if he is optimistic, the President of Cyprus said he is “always cautiously optimistic, since there are difficult issues that we need to address and overcome”. “If we do overcome them, I will be very optimistic,” he added, but noted that he could not foretell the result.
The 8th and last meeting of intensified talks between the two leaders has been scheduled to take place on September 14. A tentative meeting between Anastasiades, Akinci and the UN Secretary General will be probably held on September 26, in New York, based on the assessment of overall progress of the latest round of intensive talks.
On Friday, following his meeting with his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President Nicos Anastasiades has appeared cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a solution of the Cyprus issue pointing out at the same time that there are still pending important issues that need to be resolved before a negotiated agreement is reached to reunite the country. The President, speaking in Athens, ruled out any notion of having guarantees for the federal Cyprus, the island`s two communities are seeking to establish through the UN-led peace talks they are engaged in.
«Our Turkish Cypriot compatriots have to understand that what we are seeking in Cyprus is an independent, sovereign state and not to convert the Republic of Cyprus into a protectorate of any power», President Anastasiades said during a brief conversation he had earlier today with his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos before their official meeting.
The President referred to an announcement by the Turkish Cypriots that they will follow Ankara`s decision not to change into winter time as an example, though not so grave, of such differences, which nonetheless proves why Cyprus does not need any guarantees or influences, even in one of the two constituent states of a federal Cyprus.
“What message such a move is sending? For a start, it says that they are under Turkey`s influence. Secondly, do they believe that they have been incorporated into Turkey, while at the same time we are trying, through our efforts with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (to reunite the country), and that they will form part of Turkey which will be united and form the Federal Republic of Cyprus? ” the President asked.
That is why, he explained, “I am saying that any guarantees will simply provide Ankara with an advantage as a guarantor power, exercising its influence to control the whole new state of affairs.”
For all these reasons, he said, “I speak about cautious optimism as there are still issues that have to be solved and if this does not happen, it will be impossible to reach a solution.”
Anastasiades thanked Greece for its firm support and stressed that the effort in the UN-led negotiations is precisely to secure the unity of the state, its people and its economy, create a functional and viable state, with a solution that will address the concerns of both communities.
The President said that the issues of a single international personality, single citizenship, and single sovereignty, as well as the fundamental freedoms under the European acquis, have been secured in the convergences reached at the negotiating table. He added that there are chapters in which significant progress has been made, but there are also some other equally important chapters in which differences remain and on which the two sides have exchanged views. These include the issue of territory and the issue of guarantees.
The President of the Hellenic Republic expressed the full support of Greece to the efforts for a viable and just solution to the Cyprus issue. He stressed that Greece and Cyprus have to reiterate, even if it is tiring, to the international community, the United Nations and the European Union that a solution which is not in line with the rules of international law and the EU acquis communautaire cannot be accepted.
“There can be no discount as far as securing the sovereignty of Cyprus and that means that after the solution of the Cyprus problem, guarantees and occupation forces are notions which simply cannot be accepted,”, Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed.
He also said that the issues of a single citizenship, a single international status and a single sovereignty are pivotal. He reiterated Greece`s full solidarity with Cyprus, saying that this is an obligation Athens has in its capacity as a member of the European Union in addition to its special relationship with Cyprus, as part of Hellenism.
“The continuing presence of Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus` northern part is totally unacceptable. We expect the other EU member states to show solidarity with Cyprus, being a fully fledged member,” Pavlopoulos added.
The European Union and Turkey have a common interest in seeing the Cyprus issue solved, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has said.
She also pointed out that there is a window of more than hope for the issue to be resolved in the coming months.
Speaking during a press conference in Ankara, following the EU – Turkey High Level Political Dialogue, Mogherini told the press that Cyprus was discussed at length during the meeting today.
“And I believe and I can say that the European Union and Turkey have a common interest in seeing the Cyprus issue solved. We both can contribute enormously to this solution, we both want this to happen and I believe that we both believe that this could happen now in the near future. So this is why maybe this expectation was somehow raised in this framework, because indeed we see a window of more than hope for this issue to be solved in a proper way in the coming months”, she said.
Omer Celik, Turkey`s Minister for EU Affairs maintained that Cyprus issue should not be related to the opening of new chapters in his country`s EU course. He claimed that chapters 23 and 24 have nothing to do with Cyprus, adding that if criticism continues and the chapters do not open this will mean that Cyprus is used as a means against Turkey.