Greece to exhaust every possibility for positive developments in Cyprus, says FMPresident Nikos Christodoulides told the press on Tuesday that he had exchanged thoughts with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on how his country could effectively assist, and not just through statements, towards the resumption of the peace talks in Cyprus.
In statements ahead of an event in Nicosia, to mark the anniversary of the closing of WWII concentration camps, the President said that this is a particularly important presence and a historic visit of the President of Germany to Cyprus. He described the discussion they had on Monday as excellent, both at delegations’ level but also during their one-on-one meeting. The discussion, he said, will continue today during lunch.
The President said that they exchanged some opinions which cannot be made public, pointing out that “we are clearly more interested on the outcome.”
President Christodoulides also said that they discussed the developments in the region and humanitarian aid in Gaza and how the EU and Germany, as one of the powerful member states, are helping to this end. The upcoming elections for new members of the EU institutions and US elections were also on the agenda. He spoke of a constantly changing international environment and underlined the leading role the EU should play.
He said that the German President served as Foreign Minister of his country and he knows very well the issues of international interest.
Replying to a question about a meeting the Greek Foreign Minister held yesterday with the UN Secretary-General, the President said that it is important that the Greek government not only supports the efforts to resume the talks, but also takes on a leading role that Cyprus welcomes. He said that there is absolute coordination between Athens and Nicosia and the effort continues.
President Christodoulides said that the UNSG’s envoy will be in Cyprus mid-March and expressed hope that conditions will be created in the direction of the resumption of the dialogue, on the basis of the agreed framework and the acquis of the negotiations. He said there is a continuous communication with the Greek government and they are in coordination both before the meeting with the UNSG envoy and after.
President says there have been seen similar reports in the past about Varosha
In another question about a report in British Daily Express about huge investments in the ghost town of Varosha and information that a hotel there belongs to King Charles, the President said that the matter is being handled diplomatically.
He said that the government is examining all reports, adding that we have seen similar reports in the past. He pointed out that our diplomatic mission, the High Commission in London is investigating the matter and everything that needs to be done through the diplomatic channel, is being done.
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. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Columbia 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.
Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.
UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.
On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Then, in July 2021, Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha.
In his latest UNFICYP report, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, reiterates his concern over any new developments in the fenced-off area of Varosha and the lack of response to the Security Council’s call for a reversal of the actions taken since the announcement of the partial reopening in October 2020. The has EU also expressed concern.