Resumption of Cyprus talks continues to be our goal, Spokesman says

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou reiterated today that Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’ goal remains to reach an agreement as soon as possible on the terms of reference in order to have a resumption of negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus.

He noted that although an informal meeting the President had with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Tuesday which resulted in announcing a number of confidence building measures (CBMs) was positive, there has been no shift of the main aim.

Prodromou, who was replying to journalists’ questions, at the Presidential Palace also stressed that President Anastasiades first shared his ideas and thoughts about a decentralized federation with members of the National Council, before stating anything in public or talking about it with Akinci.

In response to a journalist’s comment about criticism by political parties that there has been a shift away from the substance of the Cyprus problem, the Spokesman said that we consider the meeting itself as a positive development,, adding that it was something Anastasiades sought from the day of his re-election. He also said that the government considers the announcement of Confidence Building Measures, which have to do with peoples’ daily life such as mobile telephony connectivity and permanent electricity connection as positive.

However, he noted, under no circumstances do these or any other CBMs replace the main aim which right now is the resumption of negotiations.

“There has been no shift he stressed, adding that the focus during the meeting with Akinci yesterday was the need to agree as soon as possible on the terms of reference, as UN Secretary General has asked via his envoy Jane Holl Lute, in order to have a resumption of talks as soon as possible.

He also said that the Greek Cypriot side does not share the view that negotiations could only start after June. We do not see any reasons for a delay, he pointed out. However, he added, objectively as things stand it seems that we will have to follow this timeline.

He replied positively when asked whether the National Council will be convened on Friday. Replying however to a question as to whether an opinion issued recently by the International UN Court in the Hague on Mauritius would be discussed he clarified that the meeting would focus on the Cyprus problem, Lute’s initiative and in particular the meeting President Anastasiades had with Akinci.

Replying to a question about President Anastasiades’ idea on a decentralized federation and whether member of the National Council know as much as Akinci, he said that President Anastasiades has proposed an idea, a direction, a contemplation.

Requests to make the discussion more specific have to do with the negotiation itself, he noted, adding that right now there are no negotiations. Nor was the meeting with Akinci in the context of a negotiation. A free dialogue is taking place.

Although President Anastasiades has briefed Akinci on his idea, the Spokesman said, the National Council has also been briefed fully. He added that in the last meeting of the National Council the President had even asked political party leaders for their own suggestions or reflections on the matter.

Asked to comment on a military exercise conducted by Turkey in areas under the jurisdiction of Cyprus and Greed and the fact that it is presented as a message towards Israel, Cyprus and Greece that Turkey’s interests in the region cannot be ignored, Prodromou said that certain people also say that the message has to do with the elections taking place in Turkey.

He said he did not wish to analyse Turkey’s decisions or actions but reiterated that the messages and positions put forward by the Cypriot government and the Republic of Cyprus are messages of cooperation, mutual benefit on the basis of international law through the relations we have with all neighbouring states, apart unfortunately from Turkey.

The Spokesman also noted that during yesterday’s meeting President Anastasiades also stressed to Akinci that Turkey’s actions within the Cypriot EEZ do not contribute in the direction of the resumption of talks and the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. 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.

Anastasiades and Akinci, decided yesterday to go ahead with a series of Confidence Building Measures concerning, among other things, mobile telephony and interconnectivity of the electricity grids of the two communities in Cyprus.

The National Council is the countrys top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus issue and comprises parliamentary party leaders, the House of Representatives President and former Presidents of Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus News Agency