The UN Good Offices said on Tuesday it had now been informed by the presidential palace that President Nicos Anastasiades had decided not to attend the leaders’ meeting that was originally planned for Thursday.
It said UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide had arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday as scheduled.
“He will hold meetings with both leaders, their negotiators, leaders of political parties as well as with several other key interlocutors, discussing the way forward in the negotiations,” the UN statement said.
The UN did not comment on the suspension of the talks by the Greek Cypriot side over Turkey’s actions in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). As well as cancelling the leaders’ meeting, chief negotiator for the Greek Cypriot side, Andreas Mavroyiannis, has also pulled out off meetings with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Kudret Ozersay.
Eide will be on the island until Friday. Sources close to the talks told the Cyprus Mail that while here he would engage in ‘shuttle diplomacy’ with the two sides. “He wants them to keep their eye on the prize,” said the sources.
In the first reaction from the north, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said the decision to suspend the negotiations on the grounds that the sovereignty of the Republic was being violated was “incompatible with the realities of the Cyprus problem” and was an expression of the Greek Cypriot side’s determination to ignore the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Eroglu said that before leaving for the UN General Assembly in New York last month, he had asked Anasatasiades to suspend the planned operations in Block 9 of the island’s EEZ for a short time but was ignored. The Greek Cypriot side, he said, was responsible for what had happened with Turkey because it had ignored warnings and suggestions.
Eroglu said he had proposed the creation of a joint committee on hydrocarbons and that the Turkish Cypriot side had been ready to discuss giving water to the south of the island from Turkey.
Anastasiades had used the activity of the Turkish navy as an excuse to break off the talks, Eroglu claimed, adding that the rights of the Turkish Cypriots would be protected with the full support of Ankara.