Government Spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, said on Monday that it seems that there is justified hope and ground for the formulation of the terms of reference that would pave the way for the resumption of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem.
In statements to the media, after a one-hour meeting between Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades and the UNSG’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute, Prodromou described the meeting as good and productive, noting that following her meetings with the leaders in Cyprus Lute will have consultations with the rest of the parties involved in the whole process “and this is why we cannot ignore difficulties that may emerge if Turkey continues its illegal interventions and what is going on regarding the issue of Famagusta continues.”
“We hope and we expect that everyone will follow the same direction that has been outlined though the consultations that took place between the President of the Republic and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Mustafa Akinci during the recent meeting they had, with a view to create the prospects for the resumption of the negotiations,” Prodromou said.
Moreover, he noted that the President of the Republic believes that based on what has been discussed yesterday and today it is very likely for a joint meeting of the two leaders, President Anastaiads and Akinci, with the UN Secretary General to take place.
He also said that Lute will meet Akinci in the afternoon and will leave the island tomorrow and that no other meeting has been scheduled with her.
Asked whether there will be an announcement about the formulation of the terms of reference, the Spokesman said that “we will have to wait. Ms Lute is the one conducting the process on behalf of the UN and we will have to wait for the next steps.”
Invited to say if the President has made it clear that even if the terms of reference are formulated, he will not participate in negotiations if the Turkish provocations are not terminated, the Spokesman said that the President “has a clear position which we all know” adding that the National Council has discussed this issue and has expressed its position as well, that the appropriate climate is needed for the negotiations to take place.
What we have right now is a procedural preparation. The President cooperates with Ms. Lute with a view to have the terms of reference. We are on track, there is ground to reach a conclusion very soon, and the Secretary General will see how the process for the resumption of the negotiations will move on, he added.
Responding to another question, the Spokesman said that the terms of reference must be agreed by the two sides, the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot, which negotiate under the UN auspices. He also stressed that “we expect from Turkey to contribute to the resumption of the negotiations terminating its illegal actions.”
Asked about the possibility of the Republic of Cyprus to take recourse to the UN Security Council about the issue of Famagusta, the Spokesman said that this is an issue that is currently being examined.
Prodromou also said that the President will brief on Tuesday the members of the National Council about the developments in the Cyprus problem, noting that the deliberations that took place on Sunday and Monday have given hope that there is ground to formulate the terms of reference.
Responding to another question, Prodromou said that the Secretary General expects from the two sides in Cyprus to agree on the terms of reference, but this does not mean that the guarantor powers do not play a role in the whole process. He added and that it will be up to the SG to decide about the next steps.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Turkey announced its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and send on 4 May 2019 the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, which remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula, in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s north-eastern coast on 8 July 2019.
In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Varosha is the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, often described as ‘ghost town’. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.
Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met with the refusal of the Turkish side, despite numerous decisions and resolutions by the UN, EU and other international institutions.
Kudret Ozersay, the “foreign minister” of the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, arranged last week a press visit for Turkish Cypriot and Turkish journalists and media in the fenced – off part of Famagusta for the first time in 45 years and has said that he will gradually open the city for settlement.