Cyprus President prepared for substantial discussion with UN envoy, Foreign Minister says

The President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades is paying particular importance to his meeting with Jane Holl Lute, the UN Secretary-General’s envoy, who is arriving in Cyprus to meet on Wednesday with the leaders, and is prepared for a substantial discussion with her, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has said.

Christodoulides was speaking on Tuesday, after a closed session of the House Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, where he briefed members of parliament. According to the Minister, the President is absolutely prepared and looks forward to a very substantial discussion on specific issues, that also involve matters of substance, and which led the latest effort to a failed outcome as well as on procedural issues.

Asked about the form of a Cyprus settlement, the Minister clarified that the government is not contemplating any other form, other than a bizonal bicommunal federation.

I want to send a message to all parliamentary parties, across the whole political world, with absolute respect to those who might have different approaches and different interpretations, that we need to lower the tone and work – on the occasion of the debate taking place today at the Security Council and Lute’s arrival � in order to see how to create prospects for the substantial resumption of talks, that will lead to a result that is not outside the framework of UN resolutions and EU principles and values the Minister said.

The discussion concerning other forms of settlement � either a two-state solution or a confederation � will only harm our effort to terminate the illegal occupation and to reunify our country, he underlined.

Furthermore, he referred to the latest UN Secretary-General report, saying that it points to the relevant UN resolutions which clearly speak about the form of the solution. We need to be careful when reading SG reports because in this case, every word matters he noted.

According to the Foreign Minister the SG terms of reference, included in his report, come from the UN resolutions and speak clearly about a bizonal bicommunal federation.

Christodoulides reiterated that the goal is clear and it does not fall outside the framework of UN resolutions for a bizonal bicommunal federation. He added that our desire for this form of solution has been also proven in the latest negotiation effort.

Referring to a proposal by the President of the Republic, favoring a decentralized form of federal government, Christodoulides said it was food for thought and falls within the framework of the bizonal bicommunal federation, without putting in doubt the form of a Cyprus settlement.

According to the Foreign Minister, this approach is taking into consideration the position of the Turkish side and may create the conditions for agreement over a subject dominated by disagreement.

Referring to Jane Holl Lute, the UN Secretary-General’s envoy, Christodoulides expressed hope that the outcome of her meetings will create the conditions for the immediate resumption of settlement talks.

For us, the status quo can never be the solution of the Cyprus problem he said, adding that with this in mind we will do everything possible, in order to create the prospects for the resumption of talks.

Asked whether MPs were briefed about the ideas over a decentralized form of federal government, the Foreign Minister said they weren’t.

No US helicopter base existed in Cyprus

In his statements, the Foreign Minister said moreover that no US helicopter base has existed in the Akrotiri airport, in the British Bases, as per some reports, and only facilities were provided to evacuate citizens for humanitarian reasons.

Commenting on media reports about a US helicopter base operating in the Akrotiri base, in the southern coast of Cyprus, between September and August 2017, the Minister said that no such base existed.

I have been informed about the landing of helicopters, which was part of a wider global American plan at this particular period, to safely evacuate American diplomats he said.

The Foreign Minister added that helicopters landed there for a very specific reason, concerning humanitarian operations. In the last few years, we managed to turn the Andreas Papandreou airbase, in the southwest of Cyprus, as well as Cyprus’ ports into a point of reference for third country use, exclusively for humanitarian operations, Christodoulides underlined.

He also reminded that Nicosia has a number of agreements, to facilitate many countries with its ports and airports for humanitarian operations and to evacuate civilians. In 2017, facilities were provided in 672 cases, which show the role that the Republic of Cyprus plays in the region, the Minister said.

We consider all these to upgrade the substantial role our country plays in the region, as a factor of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean while highlighting our credibility and predictability as a trusted partner of the international community in the region, Christodoulides concluded.

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 July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency