An abandoned Cyprus’ military guard post has writing sprayed on its roof reading ‘No borders’ near the UN buffer zone in the divided capital Nicosia.
“The Greek Cypriot side will use all available tools for the resumption of the UN-led Cyprus settlement talks,” Government Spokesman Marios Pelekanos said on Sunday.
The settlement process has been inactive since the failure of the last round of talks held in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana in July 2017.
“The impasse is due to the intransigence of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side,” Pelekanos said in speaking to the press on Sunday, recalling that in 2018 Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades had reached an agreement with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci over the path leading to the resumption of the negotiating process.
“This was followed by the election of Ersin Tatar as the head of the Turkish Cypriot community and since then we have had an obstacle called Turkish intransigence,” Pelekanos said, adding “we are obliged and we will continue to utilize all available tools to bring back Turkey to the negotiating table for the resumption of a creative dialogue that will lead us to a solution to the Cyprus problem.”
The spokesman noted, “We recognize the challenges, we are realists, we are monitoring the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side daily, we monitor the statements of Mr Tatar, and our side will continue to utilize every available tool to achieve our goals.”
Asked if the UN will take the initiative to bring the two sides to a common ground, taking into account that no agreement has been reached on the appointment of a UN top envoy on Cyprus, Pelekanos said Colin Stewart, the new UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus, has stated he will continue contacts with both sides.
“The common ground is there, in the convergences agreed, the UN resolutions which define the UN chief’s mandate, in the High-Level Agreements and at the point we left off in Crans Montana where a great amount was covered and great progress was achieved in many of the issues discussed,” the spokesman said.
Therefore, he went on, the common ground is there and both sides should return to the negotiating table and the appointment of a UN Envoy would be conducive towards that direction.
He also recalled that the Greek Cypriot side has submitted certain confidence-building measures which could be helpful.
Replying to a question regarding the telephone conversation between the Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, Pelekanos said the desire of Cyprus and Israel to further enhance and deepen their bilateral cooperation as well as the trilateral and multilateral collaboration such as the 3+1 collaboration with the US is implicit.
He recalled Anastasiades’ visit to Israel and the trilateral meeting with Israel and Greece noting that “the will of all sides to further deepen this cooperation was confirmed in the presence of officials of the new Israeli government.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.