The UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Cyprus, María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, will be back to Cyprus for meetings in mid March, Cyprus President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, said on Sunday.
In a speech at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Graces, in Nicosia, for the celebration of Saint Maron, President Christodoulides noted that Holguín makes a significant effort, and that she informed him that she will be in Cyprus after March 10.
The President of the Republic expressed hope that with Holguín’s appointment, which opens a window of opportunity, the conditions will be created that will allow the resumption of meaningful talks, and not talks for the sake of talks, and will lead to the end of the occupation and to the reunification of Cyprus.
“On our part, we will do everything possible so that the talks resume and lead to the settlement of the Cyprus issue,” he said.
In statements afterwards to the media, the President said that negotiations can resume and lead to a Cyprus solution, always based on the agreed framework, pointing out that the agreed framework is not subject to discussion and that this is the message of the international community both to Turkey and to the Turkish Cypriot community.
In a journalist’s remark on Ankara’s position for a two – state settlement, President Christodoulides reiterated that the UN Secretary-General appointed Holguín, indicating that this demonstrates the clear will to resume talks that will lead to the solution of the Cyprus problem, always based on the agreed framework”.
He added that this framework is not subject to discussion, “this is the message – not only what we conveyed – but it is also the message of the international community both to Turkey and to the Turkish Cypriot community.”
The President of the Republic also stated that things are certainly not easy and that there are difficulties and challenges, noting that “we are here to cooperate with Mrs. Holguín and the international community as a whole, including the European Union, to do what is possible so that we can achieve this goal”.
Asked to comment on statements by the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom in Cyprus, Irfan Siddique, and if this seems to facilitate Ankara’s position for an “equal sovereignty” of the Turkish Cypriots, Christodoulides emphasized that “the position of the Republic of Cyprus, but more importantly – at the present moment – the position of the international community and those who are really interested in the Cyprus issue, is that the statements of the High Commissioner do not help in any way efforts to restart the talks”.
He reiterated that this is not simply the position of the Republic of Cyprus, it is the position of the international community, the United Nations, and not only. President Christodoulides said that he does not want to get into the essence of Sidik’s statements, “because such positions are not acceptable, they are not up for discussion”.
At the same time, President Christodoulides referred to the state visit of the President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Cyprus, noting that it will be the first time that the President of Germany, since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus and the establishment of diplomatic relations, will be in Cyprus.
Germany, he said, “is a member state of the European Union that maintains excellent relations with Turkey, is interested – as we are – in the progress of Euro-Turkish relations and it will be a first-class opportunity to exchange views taking into account Mr. Steinmeier’s previous roles and positions as German Foreign Minister, the relations he maintains with Turkey, on how to create the conditions for the resumption of talks”. He noted that “for us there is no other option”.
Asked on the matter of the appointment of an EU envoy on the Cyprus issue, and if this does not proceed due to Ankara’s consistently negative stance, President Christodoulides said that there is a negative predisposition on the part of Turkey and noted that “this does not mean that this effort has ended”.
“For us, the leading role of the European Union is not to serve the positions of the Greek Cypriot side or the positions of the Republic of Cyprus, it is because the EU has those tools that can lead us to a mutually acceptable, mutually beneficial state of affairs for the solution of the Cyprus issue, for Turkey, Euro-Turkish relations, the region in general”, he noted and indicated that this approach to the role of the EU is also embraced by many member states.
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 Colombia 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.