CNA News

President wants Holguin to continue efforts to get Cyprus talks back on track

President Nikos Christodoulides has expressed on Tuesday his desire for Maria Angela Holguin Guellar to continue her efforts for the resumption of Cyprus reunification talks.

Speaking to reporters, prior to the annual General Assembly of the Pancyprian Hoteliers’ Association PASYXE, President Christodoulides was invited to comment on reports that the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Guellar, may submit proposals that are outside the framework of a solution. “Everyone, the UN Secretary-General, Holguin, the members of the Security Council, are bound by the UN resolutions themselves,” he replied.

“From then on, on the basis of information we have from Holguin, she will submit her report to the UN Secretary-General in the first ten days of July, the Secretary-General will study the report and decide on the next steps. Therefore, there is no information in relation to this issue. And, I repeat, the framework is very specific, it is defined by the UN Security Council and there is nothing to negotiate outside this framework,” he remarked.

Asked if there is an issue with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus following his statements on Monday, the President of the Republic said “no. We can disagree, we can express our disagreements. We had a very civilised debate. We disagreed on some issues. I opened the issue – I want to be fair – and I opened it because of the statements I heard from the Spokesperson of the UN peacekeeping force in relation to migration.”

Asked whether he had information on Holguin’s meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar in London, President Christodoulides said he had an initial briefing on what was discussed, noting that “there is nothing that stands out from Tatar’s public statements.”

Regarding the remarks made by the Russian Representative to the UN Security Council, whose country took over the rotating presidency this month, said “I do not know the reason for the public statements made by the President of the Security Council, it was the first day of Russia’s assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council, hence a press conference was held by the Russian Permanent Representative, because the briefing of the Security Council has not yet taken place.”

President of the Security Council for July and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said, that the UNSG’s Personal Envoy found out that “the parties in Cyprus are very far apart from the compromise solution that may be found”.

He urged journalists to wait for the update, noting however “we consider it important that the Security Council is informed, since it determines the framework for resolving the Cyprus problem”.

Asked about Holguin’s future as personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General, the President said that “this is up to the Secretary-General himself. Our desire, of course, is to continue the effort, despite the difficulties, different approaches and challenges. It is work and we believe that this work can, if there is appropriate political will from all parties involved, lead to the desired result, which is the resumption of talks.”

Asked to comment on Tatar’s statements calling for direct flights and direct trade with the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied north of the island, the President said these are Tatar’s well-known positions, adding that this “cannot be accepted.”

He also pointed out that “direct trade, direct flights and direct contacts are the same as sovereign equality, the same with the two states. It’s the same approach given a different name.”

Asked to comment on statements by Tatar accusing the Greek Cypriot side of instrumentalizing the issue of property usurpation in the Turkish occupied areas, the President of the Republic said that “we do not politicize the issue in any way. When there is a violation of law, a violation of one of the basic human rights, the right to property, we will definitely act, we will not stand idly by.”

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.

Last January, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia 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.