The President of the Republic and the Greek Cypriot side are ready to participate even today in a meeting with either the Turkish Cypriot leader, the UN Secretary General, or the UN SG and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Foreign Affairs Minister Constantinos Kombos said on Thursday, noting at the same time that it is the Turkish Cypriot side that sets terms and conditions even for a social meeting between the two leaders.

In the first review of the Ministry’s work in the one year since President Nikos Christodoulides’ government took office, Kombos stressed that the main goal is the solution of a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality, as described in UN resolutions. He noted, however, that “the logic of breaking the deadlock cannot follow a middle line approach. This is a dangerous and sketchy line because it simply ignores the starting points.”

The second objective of the Republic of Cyprus’ foreign policy, he continued, is the creation of conditions beneficial for the reunification of the country and the appointment of the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy is considered as such, adding that efforts are ongoing for the appointment of an EU envoy with emphasis on the interconnection of EU-Turkey relations with the Cyprus problem. He said that the two issues were interlinked.

He also referred to the government’s package of 14 measures for Turkish Cypriots, stressing that “the message is clear. We continue the effort, always and exclusively within the framework of the UN Security Council, despite the constant denial and rhetoric of the other side.”

On efforts to upgrade or give the impression of upgrading the Turkish occupying regime, the Foreign Minister referred to its “intrusion into the Organization of Turkic States” and added that efforts continue to prevent the ratification of the 2022 Samarkand Agreement’s amending protocol, which includes an amendment to the article of the Nakhichevan Agreement to accept the puppet regime as an entity with observer status, while at the same time inviting it to meetings of that organization.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third. The latest round of talks ended in Crans Montana in July 2017 without result. 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.

Regarding the time frame of the UN SG personal envoy’s mandate, Kombos noted that the creation of an artificial timetable is something the other side is putting forward, something that the Greek Cypriot side “hears and is concerned about”, and added that our side wishes that her mission would end today with a positive result.

He also noted Holguin’s visits to London and Paris and said they were looking forward to her return to Cyprus to hear “how to move forward, in any case within the framework set by the Security Council”.

On the usurpation of Greek Cypriot properties in the Turkish occupied territories, he said that the Foreign Ministry has formulated a response plan, which has been put in place in cooperation with relevant authorities and agencies and includes several phases with specific guiding criteria. Asked to say more about the plan, he said it is a plan approved by the President of the Republic at the end of 2023 and includes a number of criteria targeting the usurpation chain, with the emphasis sometimes placed on the buying and selling per se, but also on intermediaries, such as advertisers and others, who are an important part of the problem.

The understanding about the buffer zone in Pyla is unfortunately not being implemented because of the denial on the other side and that is what concerns us, noted the Minister, adding that the UN is also concerned in this instance and that the issue remains “an active threat to disrupt the climate in the effort to resume talks, but also on the ground.”

Kombos also said that the continuation of the monitoring procedure before the Committee of Deputy Ministers of the Council of Europe was secured in the Fourth Interstate Case Cyprus v. Turkey, after a strong and concerted effort, in relation to the property aspect. “The preservation of that aspect was achieved by shifting the position of four member states compared to last year,” he noted.

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