President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with his own account of why UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks have been put on hold.
This was confirmed by Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides who also told incyprus.com that the letter was handed to Guterres’ chief of staff by the Ambassador of Cyprus to the UN.
Christodoulides also said: “What we are seeking from the UN is an objective and accurate record of what has happened…The President is ready and willing to resume negotiations immediately.”
At the same time, a meeting is set to take place in Nicosia either on Thursday or Friday between the President and UN Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide.
It will be the first since the breakdown of the peace process and the Greek Cypriot side views this meeting as highly important.
“It will be interesting to see if the UN envoy will present the President with something new and what that may be,” an informed source said.
The 21-month-long fragile process aiming to reunite Cyprus divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974 was suspended last week after Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci refused to attend a scheduled leaders’ meeting in Nicosia.
Akinci’s displeasure is over Parliament approving a bill to honour in schools a 1950 referendum in favour of Enosis – Cyprus uniting with Greece.
Anastasiades has publicly described the legislative regulation as “untimely” and “unfortunate” but also underlined that the Turkish side is overreacting.
And argued this was an excuse to pull out of the negotiations now that Turkey’s time to turn “positive rhetoric” into deeds had come.
The President believes and noted this in his letter that the goal of the Turkish side especially of President Recep Erdogan is to achieve a positive result in April’s presidency referendum/
And that this becomes a substantial obstacle in the negotiations when it comes to the withdrawal of occupation troops.
It was to be expected that Erdogan would harden his stand on security and guarantees or that he would avoid discussion on it in a bid to prevent whatever negative developments within Turkey.
The talks were interrupted because the Turkish side is not in a position to contribute – through withdrawals – whether it is in the area of territorial adjustments or of guarantees, or of withdrawal of troops and of the anachronistic right of intervention.
A Conference on Cyprus focusing on security and guarantees was set to take place in mid-March with the participation of the island’s three guarantors – Greece, Turkey and Britain.
Greece and Britain are willing to give up their guarantor’s role in a reunited federal EU-member Cyprus, but Turkey insists on the right of intervention.