Guterres to decide future of Cyprus talks after more contacts

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will decide on the way forward in the Cyprus talks after he has met with all the involved parties and received the report of his envoy Jane Holl Lute, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday during a press conference in New York following his meeting with the UN chief.

Following a 20-minute meeting with Guterres on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Anastasiades said: “The Secretary-General’s reaction was that the United Nations remains at the disposal of both sides, and he emphasised that once he has received Ms Lute’s report and has made all his contacts with the involved parties, he will decide on the next steps in coordination with both sides.”

The president added that he told the UNSG that the Greek Cypriot side was ready to work with the UN to restart talks on the Cyprus problem.  The goal of the talks will be to achieve a solution as soon as possible, which will be based on the UN resolutions and the EU acquis.

“The goal has to be that the new status quo being discussed secures the functionality, sustainability and duration while being completely free of the anachronistic guarantees or presence of a occupying military,” he said.

He added that for a new attempt to be made the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish side must submit their positions on the six points of the Guterres framework in writing, as the Greek Cypriot side has done.

Regarding avoiding a failure in Cyprus talks again, Anastasiades said that the UNSG, and/or his representative, the five permanent members of the Security Council and/or others that are interested, “must examine but also prepare a new attempt, so we are not driven to a catastrophic impasse.”

“If some of the permanent members [of the Security Council]  (P5) can influence Turkey, by calling on the UN charter, or the Treaty on the EU, which give enough security that in turn means that the anachronistic systems of guarantees is not necessary, then it would be an important aid that would create the prospect and pre-conditions for the dialogue to move forward.”

However, he added that some of the P5 may want to be more involved, while others have expressed some reservations based on their foreign policy.

The President said that he also emphasised the importance of Unficyp’s presence in maintaining a climate of security and stability on the island. “I underlined that the latest provocative actions of the Turkish army, prove again the necessity of maintaining the mission as it is.”

Anastasiades said that the UNSG informed him that goal remained the reunification of Cyprus to the best interests of both communities.

Asked about a report Lute is expected to hand over to Guterres about her contacts with all the involved parties on the Cyprus talks, the president said that the UNSG had not received it yet.

Commenting on what Guterres might do, Anastasiades said the UN chief might ask Lute to continue her consultations with all interested parties, or he may ask for the help of the members of the Security Council in creating the conditions that would allow him to restart the dialogue.

Asked about the opening of new checkpoints, the President said that the Greek Cypriot side was ready.

“What needs to be determined is that the other side is ready, as regards technical specifications.”

He added that in the agreement on the new checkpoint in Dherynia it was noted that the Turkish army must move their military outpost in the area.

“From what I know, the Turkish or Turkish Cypriot side have maintained that something like that has not been agreed,” he said.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to meet separately with Guterres on Friday evening (early Saturday morning local time).

Ahead of his meeting with Guterres, Anastasiades had said: “We will convey our determination for the resumption of the dialogue and for the need to have such climate which will be far from any violations of the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights, in order to avoid unwanted situations which would not lead to dialogue but to possible deadlock.”

On Thursday, Anastasiades met with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, after speaking at the UN General Assembly.

Following his meeting with the P5, Anastasiades said: “We analysed our position and the current status of the Cyprus problem, and we reaffirmed our decisiveness to continue the dialogue.”

In his address to the General Assembly, the President said that he was concerned about the lapse of time since the last round of Cyprus talks.  He is to depart from New York on Saturday.

The latest talks under UN aegis took place in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

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