Cyprus` outgoing Permanent Representative to the UN and Greek Cypriot negotiator, Andreas Mavroyiannis, has said that the informal 5+1 meeting on Cyprus which the UN Secretary – General Antonio Guterres intends to convene is an ambitious project, adding that “we must not lose the window of opportunity that lies before us.”

“This demands a lot of effort during the next weeks and if this is attainable then the meeting will take place in Greentree, New York, where we will try to create a conducive climate for the negotiations and halt the fait accompli which Turkey creates on the issue of Varosha, drilling activities in Cyprus EEZ, etc,” Mavroyiannis noted.

He was speaking during a farewell online event organized in his honour by the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations and the International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA). Mavroyiannis will return to Cyprus after the adoption of the resolution for the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate by the UN Security Council and will be replaced by Ambassador Andreas Hadjichrysanthou who served in the past in New York as the deputy Permanent Representative.

In his speech Mavroyiannis thanked all participants in the event, referring particularly to the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations and PSEKA. He noted that Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, decided for him to return to Cyprus, as due to the pandemic it was difficult for him to exercise both the duties of the negotiator and the Permanent Representative to the UN.

Referring to developments in the Cyprus issue, he noted that after the failure of the Conference in Crans Montana, three and a half years ago, the UNSG asked for some time for reflection before the resumption of fresh negotiations.

He added that due to the change in the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community and other factors, including the change of the Turkish policy, the UNSG asked for an informal 5+1 meeting to see how they can return to the negotiations.

Mavroyiannis said that if they can reach the stage of substantive negotiations, then there will be a real possibility to reach a settlement. At the same time he noted the positions expressed by the Turkish Cypriot side after Ersin Tatar was chosen to be the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, for the establishment of a confederation with two separate states with sovereign equality.

He underlined that there is now some possibility for progress, if Turkey revises and re-examines its offensive policy. He noted that after the US elections, Turkey does not know what to expect from the new US administration. He went on to say that the EU reacts to Turkey`s provocations, by taking measures.

Mavroyiannis also said that the effort to restore relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries and the agreement aiming to smooth the relations of Israel with the UAE and Bahrain have created a negative climate in Turkey.

Leaders of the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations and PSEKA and other officials who addressed the event praised Mavroyiannis for the task he fulfilled.

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

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