By Jean Christou
President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday met political party leaders ahead of his meeting later with UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide where he is due to give an official response for the Greek Cypriot side’s rejection of a proposal for a twin-track process to resolve the hydrocarbons dispute.
After the meeting at the presidential palace, Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said there had been a good exchange of views with the party leaders on the argument the Greek Cypriot side would be putting to Eide.
The content of this position would remain a private matter between the President, his aides and the UN Special Adviser during their meeting later, the spokesman said. Anastasiades is due to meet Eide at 6.30pm.
“Mr Eide will be briefed through this meeting and not in public,” Christodoulides said.
What he could say, was that the position of the Greek Cypriot side had not changed and was unanimous. “The issue of hydrocarbons can in no way be discussed either at the [negotiating table] table nor during any other parallel process,” said the spokesman.
“It is very important that the party leaders firmly agree on this position.”
The spokesman said the issue of energy was an important incentive both to the Turkish Cypriots and to Turkey to solve the Cyprus problem as soon as possible. “Any other discussion or idea for discussion serves as a vehicle for failure to resolve the Cyprus problem,” Christodoulides said.
“It was Turkey by its actions, which have escalated the situation, that led us to the decision to suspend our participation in the negotiations, so any action or efforts [to defuse the situation] should be directed there.”
In early October, Turkey announced plans to carry out surveys within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and sent in the seismic vessel Barbaros on October 20 with plans to carry out exploration until December 30. This prompted Anastasiades to withdraw from the talks. The Greek Cypriots will not contemplate returning to the talks until the Barbaros has left the EEZ, it has said.
Eide has been trying to defuse the situation recently suggesting a twin-track process where hydrocarbons would be discussed in parallel to the settlement talks. This has been rejected by both sides. The Special Adviser arrived back on the island on Monday for a week of meetings with leaders, the chief negotiators, other political figures, ambassadors and academics.
The UN said earlier in the week, Eide was expecting an official response to the rejection of his proposal.