Conference on Cyprus begins on Thursday in Geneva to discuss security and guarantees issue

Conference on Cyprus begins on Thursday in Geneva to discuss security and guarantees issue

The Conference on Cyprus, which will address the issue of security and guarantees in the framework of the Cyprus talks begins on Thursday in Geneva at 1115 local time and will be opened by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

According to a UN note to correspondents, the conference will take place in the Council Chamber at the UN Palais des Nations, “with the participation of His Excellency Nicos Anastasiades, His Excellency Mustafa Akinci, the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, and the representatives of the guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The European Union will also be attending as an observer/interested party” it is added.

The three guarantor powers will be represented by their Foreign Ministers. Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers Nikos Kotzias and Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived on Wednesday to Geneva, while British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives on Thursday morning. The EU of which Cyprus has been a members state since 2004 will be represented by a delegation under European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and with the participation of the High Representative on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

In statements on Wednesday, the UNSG`s Special Adviser on Cyprus said that what is happening today, “whatever outcome, is historic, because it is the first time in this process that the guarantor powers have actually met with the Cypriots to discuss this very contentious, traditionally very difficult issue of security and guarantees.”

According to the programme of the Conference, the first session will run until 1300. It will reconvene at 1800 (local times). All sessions will be private.

The UN Secretary-General will deliver a statement to the media at 1445 local time, accompanied by the two leaders, Anastasiades and Akinci.

Meanwhile Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will meet at 0930 local time with Greek FM Nikos Kotzias, with whom he also had a brief encounter on Wednesday evening, at the presence of Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

On December 1st, 2016, the two leaders decided to continue their negotiations from January 9th to 11th in Geneva and that on January 12th a Conference on Cyprus will begin.