Greek Cypriot side ready to withdraw its decision to suspend its participation in UN-led talks, spokesman says

Greek Cypriot side ready to withdraw its decision to suspend its participation in UN-led talks, spokesman says

The Greek Cypriot side is ready to withdraw its decision to suspend its participation in the UN-led negotiating process, with a view to create the prospects that will allow the settlement of the Cyprus problem, through a substantive and sincere dialogue, on the basis of the joint communique and away from any threats and intimidation, Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Tuesday, following the announcement in Nicosia by the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide that the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem will resume after the illegal elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The “elections” will take place on April 19.

Peace talks were suspended in October last year as Turkish vessel research Barbaros violated Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone and Ankara issued a NAVTEX, which reserved part of Cyprus` EEZ. NAVTEX was renewed in January 2015 and expired on April 6, 2015. Meanwhile Turkish vessel , Barbaros withdrew from Cyprus` EEZ.

Christodoulides expressed the belief that conditions today can lead Turkey to realize, by thinking rationally, the benefits of a possible settlement. “We hope that by realizing these benefits Turkey will work towards this direction,” he noted.

The spokesman said that during the meeting President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades had on Tuesday morning with Eide, the latter conveyed to the President a message from Turkey that following the withdrawal of the Barbaros vessel, Turkey will not proceed with the renewal of its NAVTEX and that it will support the resumption of a substantive dialogue on the Cyprus problem.

“In view of these facts, and taking into consideration our strong desire for a solution to the Cyprus problem the earliest possible, our side is ready to withdraw its decision for the suspension of its participation in the negotiating process with the aim, through a substantive and sincere dialogue on the basis of the joint communique (reached between the leaders of the two sides in February 2014) and away from threats and intimidation, to create those prospects that will allow the solution of the Cyprus problem,” Christodoulides added.

Noting that “the dialogue cannot resume immediately because there is an election process taking place in the occupied areas,” he said that “consequently, we must wait”, adding that “in the meantime and until the resumption of the talks, we will have the opportunity to verify the assurances which Eide conveyed to us.”

Asked to say whether there is anything specific with regard what Eide mentioned in his remarks to the press about Turkey’s intention to facilitate the process, the spokesman said that “it is something that he conveyed to us also during the meeting today and we are waiting to see it in practice.”

He noted that Turkey will facilitate the process once it does not engage in illegal activities “like those we saw in October of 2014” and it supports the negotiating process in a substantive way.

Responding to questions, Christodoulides assured that the Greek Cypriot side will work with a view to achieve prospects for a positive outcome of the negotiations. “This is our goal,” he stressed, adding that “political will and concrete actions are also needed from the other side as well.”

Asked if Eide has any written assurance by Turkish President Recep Tayiip Erdogan, the spokesman replied: “No. There is no written assurance by Mr. Erdogan. He brought a message from the Turkish government.”

Asked about the methodology to be followed, the spokesman noted that “we will continue from where things were left in October 2014.”

Christodoulides also said that the Republic of Cyprus energy planning continues normally. He noted that “the issue of the Republic of Cyprus` natural resources has always been on the negotiating table, under the chapter `competencies of the central government` and it was in this framework that it was discussed during the second phase of the talks.”

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