By Angelos Anastasiou
THE UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, will be visiting next week with the purpose of resuming the UN-led talks aimed at settling the Cyprus problem, which were interrupted in September following the Turkish provocations in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
According to Cyprus News Agency sources, Eide will arrive on Monday and scheduled to meet with the leaders of the two communities, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot Leader Dervis Eroglu, on Wednesday.
The UN official will also hold meetings with the negotiators of both sides, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ergun Olgun. Eide will be departing the island on November 28.
Meanwhile, President Anastasiades is scheduled to hold meetings with various officials of foreign countries, who will also be visiting Cyprus next week.
Specifically, he will meet with the Egyptian Energy minister, Lebanon’s Foreign minister, the British Minister for Europe, and the Greek Defence minister, all of whom he will brief on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and Turkish provocations in the Cyprus EEZ.
The Cyprus government has been taking every opportunity to reiterate in every direction that it will not return to the negotiating table while Turkish provocations and violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic continue.
On Thursday, Foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides argued that if Turkey wants a settlement of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, then its seismic exploration vessel Barbaros must exit Cyprus’ EEZ to allow for the resumption of peace talks.
He noted that Turkey aims to force the issue of hydrocarbons onto the negotiating table, but warned that if the Greek Cypriot side were to accept such a development, it would complicate the Cyprus problem even more and the Barbaros would enter Cyprus waters under any pretext.
From Athens, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Thursday that the Cyprus government cannot be forced back to the negotiating table through Turkey’s violations of the international law of the sea.
“We expect the UN, as the pre-eminent forum for the protection of the sovereignty of all its member states, to exert pressure on Ankara to restore international law,” the spokesman said.
Yesterday, Christodoulides continued his contacts in Athens with Greek and foreign journalists, whom he briefed on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the Turkish provocations ahead of the meeting of the Supreme Council of Cooperation between Greece and Turkey, scheduled for December 5 and 6 in Athens under the joint chairmanship of the Prime Ministers of the two countries, Antonis Samaras and Ahmet Davutoglu.
In an interview with the Turkish state television, Davutoglu said that his visit to Athens would also include discussions on the Cyprus problem.
At the same time, Cyprus will be on the agenda during talks in Istanbul between US Vice President Joe Biden with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Davutoglu.
Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that in a phone conversation with Anastasiades prior to his Istanbul meetings on Friday, Biden asked the Cypriot President what message he would like the US VP to convey to the Turkish leaders.
According to the paper, Anastasiades responded that he wanted to convey the message that he wants a settlement to the Cyprus problem “as soon as possible.”