Foreign Minister expects Lute to return to Cyprus

Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, says he expects Jane Holl Lute, the UN Secretary General’s envoy, to have a new round of contacts in order to reach an agreement on the terms of reference that will pave the way for the resumption of Cyprus settlement talks.

Speaking on Sunday at an event in the revamped Democratic Rally headquarters, in Nicosia, Christodoulides pointed to the recent discussions between President Anastasiades and Lute, on October 31, and his contacts with the US and other interested parties.

The Minister said he expected that Lute will return to Cyprus soon and will also visit other stakeholders in order to agree on those terms of reference and proceed to the immediate resumption of talks.

One of the messages conveyed by the President to Jane Holl Lute was that this needs to be done as soon as possible, Christodoulides added.

In his report, last October, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asked the parties to agree, the soonest possible, on the terms of reference for the resumption of substantive negotiations.

Replying to a question about the procedure necessary to agree on the terms of reference, Christodoulides said this discussion has not started yet. Lute needs to come to Cyprus first, visit other interested parties with exactly this subject in her agenda, then conclude the terms of reference that will lead to the resumption of talks he noted.

Asked if the terms of reference go beyond the Guterres framework, outlined by the Secretary General during the 2017 Conference on Cyprus, in Crans – Montana, Switzerland, the Foreign Minister was positive. He said that the terms of reference include the convergences reached so far, the UN SG framework itself and other elements.

According to Christodoulides, the Greek Cypriot side wishes for an immediate resumption of talks, adding however that the duration of negotiations depends on the positions each side brings to the table.

On another question, about energy developments, the Foreign Minister referred to the statement of intent signed recently between Cyprus and the United States, which sets the framework for cooperation in the area of security.

This statement of intent details a set of specific topics for discussion, involving at least six competent Ministries of the Republic of Cyprus, he added. The fact that the role of the Republic of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean region is acknowledged by the US is important, the Minister said.

Christodoulides also called for media restraint with regard to developments in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus in the period ahead.

He pointed to statements coming on a daily basis from Turkish officials in relation to the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, saying that they constitute in essence threats against the exercise of our sovereign rights.

It would be a grave mistake to engage in a public dialogue questioning our sovereign rights or to give the impression that there are grey zones in our sovereignty, he added.

The position of the Republic of Cyprus is clear, we are doing everything in order to continue with our energy designs uninterrupted, 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