The next steps after the appointment of the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy on the Cyprus issue, the scenarios for the resumption of negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, confidence-building measures concerning the Turkish Cypriots and also the issue of the team dealing with the Cyprus issue, were discussed, among other issues, on Monday by the National Council, that met under President Nikos Christodoulides.
Government Spokesman, Konstantinos Letymbiotis, said after the National Council meeting, that the President of the Republic, together with the entire political leadership of the country had the opportunity to discuss the latest developments, especially the appointment of the UN Secretary-General’s envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, the coordination and strategy for the next steps and in view of her arrival in Cyprus.
Letymbiotis added that they also discussed “our own even more constructive attitude in terms of creating conditions for the resumption of negotiations from the point they have been suspended, in accordance with the agreed solution basis, as provided by the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council”.
He expressed hope that the contacts of the envoy of the General Secretary will be intensive and constructive in terms of cultivating an even more positive climate, and that the conditions would be created as soon as possible for the resumption of the negotiations. Asked when the UN Secretary General’s envoy will arrive to Cyprus, the Spokesman said that they were waiting to be updated on the schedule of her arrival and visits.
Replying to another question, he noted that everyone’s common belief at the National Council was that the conditions should be created for a final, viable solution to the Cyprus problem.
Asked about the package of measures for the Turkish Cypriots, the Spokesman said that the measures have been prepared, and were very specific. He added that this issue was also discussed and that the President of the Republic will announce them when he deems that it is the most useful, most constructive moment for them to be announced.
To a question on whether all scenarios had been discussed as regards the resumption of the negotiations, he said that President Christodoulides discussed with the political leadership the scenarios, which, he and his associates have worked on.
“There has been an exchange of views. We come to this process hoping that the other side will demonstrate the corresponding political will and constructive attitude, so that the conditions are created for the resumption of negotiations within the agreed framework”, he said. At the same time, he added, the necessary preparatory work for all possible scenarios should be done, and is being done.
Letymbiotis said the issue of the team dealing with the Cyprus issue was also discussed, and that the President asked the political parties that have not submitted proposals for participation in it, to do so in the coming days, so that they will be taken into account in the final compilation of the list for the team.
As regards the incidents in the buffer zone in Pyla and Agios Dometios Letymbiotis said the Government was not going to downplay the matter, under any circumstances. He noted that the Government was monitoring them very closely and with concern, as the President of the Republic himself has mentioned. Letymbiotis said that such actions have been intensifying in recent years, but also in recent months and that this was something the President has conveyed to both the UN Secretary General and his Special Representative to Cyprus, Colin Stewart, in their meeting last week.
Asked to comment on reports that Turkey was unloading firearms at the port of Famagusta, the Spokesperson said that they were closely monitoring any developments, noting, “we are aware of various information which we are evaluating, but also proceeding with the necessary actions”.
In November, the Turkish occupation forces entered the buffer zone, which is UN-controlled land separating the northern Turkish occupied areas from the southern government-controlled part of the country, in the area of Agios Dometios, and installed on an uninhabited residence there, a rotating camera and an antenna.
Two days later, UNFICYP took action to stop a new violation of the buffer zone in the same area, after men of the Turkish occupation army entered the buffer zone in a military vehicle.
These incidents followed another violation last August, when men of the Turkish occupation forces punched and kicked a group of international peacekeepers who obstructed crews illegally working on a road that would encroach on a U.N. controlled buffer zone in the area of Pyla, in the Larnaca district.
The international community, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, condemned August’s attack. Later on, an understanding was reached which provides that a single urban development area would be created, which would ensure the harmonious coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the area of Pyla. Works, that begun based on this understanding, were temporarily halted to resolve complaints by some Turkish Cypriot land owners, who believe that their plots are affected.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 illegal Turkish invasion. Numerous peace talks under the UN aegis with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof failed to yield results. The latest round of talks took place in the summer of 2017 in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana.