By Annie Charalambous
A month after the Cyprus peace process collapsed in Switzerland the United Nations have sent the message that any ‘resurrection’ has to come from the two Cypriot sides.
And that the international community needs to be convinced there is real intent to try again, according to UN envoy Espen Barth Eide who bid farewell to Cyprus on Thursday evening
“The UN Secretary General has always said that he remains available if the two sides wanted. We are not going to initiate anything, we did all we could to facilitate this process,” said Eide.
But judging from the outcome of this week’s marathon National Council, neither the government nor the opposition seem to have a new strategy in hand that would create the conditions necessary to resume the reunification talks.
“We are at the crossroads of a very dangerous path, if the talks don’t resume soon and conclude successfully then we will be confronted with the implementation of the Turkish side’s signalled plans,” an insider told the Cyprus Weekly.
“That is, the opening of Maronite villages in the north as a first step, followed by the opening of the fenced-off town of Varosha – all under Turkish Cypriot control of course…these tactical moves will certainly change the state of play in Cyprus, at the expense of the Greek Cypriot side.”
It is no coincidence that the leaders of both ruling Disy and main opposition Akel argued after the stormy Council meeting on Tuesday that “we must find the way to resume the talks”.
Even though, they both stressed, Turkish intransigence was to blame for the collapse of the process.
- Eide: Two sides are in a period of reflection
- Stormy National Council debate on talks deadlock, consequences
- Cyprus President slams UN envoy, calls him a liar
Disy leader Averof Neophytou went a step further saying the UN Secretary General’s framework “should be exploited”. Because, based on this framework the Greek Cypriot side is fully ready for the resumption of the dialogue, he argued.
However, he was contradicted by Akel which said in a written statement that some of the conditions of President Nicos Anastasiades for agreeing to a resumption of the dialogue are outside the UNSG’s framework.
The government spokesman said after the meeting that they were processing “specific measures which also involve the utilisation of the European factor”.
In the meantime, the US embassy in Nicosia clarified on Wednesday that Washington had not asked Turkey to issue a Navtex in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
The statement by Ambassador Kathleen Ann Doherty came after Nicosia had sought clarifications following Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press reports to the effect that the US had requested a Navtex.
“All US military exercises in any exclusive economic zone are done with due regard to the rights and duties of the coastal state in the EEZ as required under international law,” Doherty said.
“The US recognises the right of Cyprus to develop, explore and exploit its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.”
Turkey had issued a Navtex for a US warship scheduled to tug an underwater structure on Monday inside the Cypriot EEZ.