CNA News

Nicosia will continue taking initiatives to restart negotiations, Spokesman says

The Government of Cyprus will continue to take initiatives that could contribute positively to the resumption of negotiations, Government Spokesman, Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Tuesday, stressing the need for all interested parties to have the will for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

In statements he made at the Presidential Palace, and, asked about the telephone communication between the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, after the former’s meeting on Monday with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Letymbiotis said that the Greek Prime Minister briefed the President of the Republic about what was discussed in his private meeting with the Turkish President and that they discussed about the next steps that need to be taken regarding progress in the Cyprus issue.

“What we, as well as the Greek Prime Minister, consider as very important is the need for a joint meeting of the two leaders in (UNSG Personal Envoy) Holguin’s presence, to discuss the concerns, to determine the next steps that could be taken for the resumption of negotiations”, the Spokesperson said.

He also said that the Greek Cypriot side would continue to undertake initiatives that could contribute to a positive climate for the resumption of negotiations.

Asked whether there was anything that could lead to developments, Letymbiotis noted what Holguin herself has referred to the meeting she will have with the UN Secretary- General, during which “she will present the situation, as she has evaluated it, but also her own thoughts on the next steps”.

He said that there needs to be will for a solution to the Cyprus issue, adding that, the Greek Cypriot side’s will was self-evident through initiatives that it undertakes, as well as through the announcement last January of 14 measures concerning “our Turkish Cypriot compatriots”, but also “from the positive message” that the Republic of Cyprus, but also the European Union have sent, through the latest Conclusions of the European Council.

Replying to another question, he said that Holguin mentioned she was surprised by the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s rejection of a joint meeting of the two leaders in her presence, noting that President Christodoulides had said from the beginning that, such a meeting, would be a step in the right direction.

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.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed Holguin in January as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue.