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2019 will be a milestone year for the Cyprus issue, says FM Christodoulides

January 3, 2019 at 12:01pm

In interview to CNA, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said that he considers that 2019 will be “undoubtedly and without any exaggeration, a milestone year for the Cyprus problem and the efforts for its settlement.”

He noted that the first major task that has to be fulfilled is to formulate the terms of reference of the Cyprus problem that will allow for substantive and results-oriented negotiations.

He stressed that an agreement on the terms of reference and the resumption of negotiations are the only goal of the Greek Cypriot side, and this has been clearly conveyed to the UN Secretary-General’s envoy Jane Holl Lute.

Lute is expected to pay a new visit to Cyprus later this month or in February, with a view to clinch an agreement on the terms of reference.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said in his report on his good offices mission in Cyprus issued in October 2018 that prior to resuming fully fledged negotiations, the sides should agree on the terms of reference that would constitute a starting point for a possible conclusion to the Cyprus issue.

Foreign Minister Christodoulides noted in his interview to CNA that the aim of the formulation of the terms of reference, is to clear up the matters related to the negotiations and the two sides to have a common understanding about them.

In this framework, he went on, it is expected that among others, the terms of reference will confirm what was achieved during the latest negotiating process, the Guterres Framework, as well as issues related to the procedure, for example if a new effort will begin with bicommunal negotiations in Nicosia, or with a new Conference on Cyprus.

He noted that a positive outcome on the terms of reference, which he considers as an absolutely achievable goal, if all the parties involved truly realise that the current state of affairs is dangerous for all the people of Cyprus, will lead to a second milestone for the Cyprus problem in 2019.

“This milestone is nothing else but the resumption of substantive negotiations that could lead to a positive outcome,” the Foreign Minister stressed.

Moreover, he noted that “it is our strong belief, and we’ve been working towards this direction, that the current unacceptable status quo cannot constitute the settlement of the Cyprus problem.”

Furthermore, he added that other major challenges in 2019 will include enhancing reforms at the Ministry, fully institutionalising public consultations, completing Cyprus’ National Security Strategy and substantially developing new approaches directly related with the Republic’s foreign policy on economic, cultural and digital diplomacy.

(Cyprus News Agency)