Nicosia is cautiously optimistic ahead of an informal conference on Cyprus, Government Spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos has said, pointing out at the same time that the Greek Cypriot side does not accept a different basis and model of solution of the Cyprus problem, nor does it accept any arbitrations or strict timelines.

On Monday a meeting of a team of legal experts who have been invited to contribute in the preparations in view of the informal conference will take place.

Following a statement by UN Secretary General`s spokesperson that Antonio Guterres intends to convene an informal 5+1 meeting on the Cyprus problems very soon, Government Spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos told CNA that very soon, most likely within the coming week, an official announcement is expected to be made by the United Nations on this matter.

“At this stage there is nothing more we could say,” he said, adding that “we are just waiting for a United Nations official announcement.”

Asked about preparations in Nicosia ahead of the informal conference, Koushos replied that “preparations for the informal five-party conference have started for some time now.” He noted that, “it is common knowledge that a team of legal experts on constitutional law and other similar fields has been established, who have already had quite a few meetings.”
“The members of this team have studied various issues, which have been put before them and the discussion on the outcomes of their work has already started,” he said.

On Monday, Koushos, added, “a new meeting of this team will take place to discuss specific legal matters which concern the Cyprus problem`s substance and the informal five-part conference.”

At the same time, he noted, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has met with the negotiating team and “intends to make the most of all the negotiating team`s members, particularly in the fields they have already worked,” adding that he will also make the most of the contribution of constitutional law and other legal experts.

Invited to comment statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar that during the informal conference he will put forward a solution based on two sovereign states, the Government Spokesperson said that “we support a solution based on the resolutions and the decisions of the United Nations and the Security Council.”

He recalled that “only recently in the process followed to renew UNFICYP`s mandate, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2561, which reconfirmed resolution 1251, on the solution of the Cyprus problem.” It is clear, he added, that resolution 1251 “defines what the basis of a solution of the Cyprus problem is.”

The UN Secretary General, Koushos said, “has and derives his mandate from the UN Security Council resolutions.”
“Since, Security Council resolutions define the model and the basis of the Cyprus problem solution, we expect that the Secretary General will operate within the remit of his mandate,” he said, adding that this “does not mean that he should not take certain initiatives with a view to break the deadlock, if the situation does not allow for further negotiations, much the same way he took certain initiatives in Crans – Montana, recording six points in his document.”

Our positions remain unchanged and we will go to the conference with clear positions, Koushos continued, noting that the model of the solution must be that of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as set out in the Security Council resolutions.

At the same time, he said, the solution should be compatible with EU principles and values, since Cyprus is and will continue to be an EU member state.
The Government Spokesperson also pointed out that it is not by accident that the EU has reiterated that it will be present in the negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus problem, by way of a special envoy, while it will also be present as an observer in the informal five-party conference.

We should not forget the convergences achieved during the dialogue that has taken place, nor should we forget the Joint Statement of November 25, 2019 in Berlin during a meeting the UN Secretary General had with President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader at the time Mustafa Akinci, nor the Joint Statement of February 2014 between President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader at the time Dervis Eroglu, he said.
Referring to Tatar`s statements he recalled that similar statements have been made in the past on the part of the Turkish Cypriot side, both when Rauf Denktas and Eroglu had been the Turkish Cypriot leader.
Let us hope, he added, “that we will to go the informal five-party conference to precisely define officially the positions of the two sides.”

He continued assuring that “we are prepared for all possible eventualities.”

“There is a cautious optimism that the informal five-party conference will have some outcomes, so that the UN Secretary General can be encouraged to go ahead and take the next key step which will be the negotiation for a solution of the Cyprus problem, a solution which must just, functional and therefore viable and ridden of anachronistic guaranties or the presence of foreign troops,” he underlined.
Replying to another question Koushos said that the Secretary General`s role will not be that of an arbitrator, noting that the Cyprus problem “is a problem which concerns Cyprus itself, it is of Cypriot ownership.”

“We cannot accept arbitrations, nor strict timelines,” he said.

“We hope that on the basis of the positions which will be submitted, the Secretary General will be able, with his interventions, to help the parties move one step further.”

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.

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