By Evie Andreou
Neither community has the luxury to continue the status quo on the island, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report on the UN peace keeping force in Cyprus UNFICYP, which was given to members of the UN Security Council on Friday.
In his report he urges both sides to refrain from the ‘blame-game’ and from negative rhetoric about each other, calling on all interested parties to help create an environment for the return to the structured negotiations as was agreed in the joint declaration by the two leaders in February 2014.
Ban Ki-Moon mentioned the decision by President Nicos Anastasiades to suspend participation in the talks following Turkey’s announcement that it would conduct a seismic survey in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
“I have underscored the need for a prompt resumption of the negotiations and appeal to the sides to find a way to accomplish this without delay,” the report said.
He also announced that he intends to issue a separate report on the state of play in the negotiations in the coming months.
“I have repeatedly stressed that it is important to ensure that any new-found wealth, and in particular any natural resources found around Cyprus, will benefit both communities,” he said.
He also expressed his conviction that the existence of common natural resources constitutes a strong incentive for all parties to find a durable solution to the Cyprus problem and that it should engender deeper cooperation for the benefit of all stakeholders in the region.
“I once again call upon both community leaders to exert efforts to create a climate conducive to achieving greater economic and social parity between the sides, including through joint projects and increased trade, which will make eventual reunification easier and more likely,” the UN Secretary General said.
He also calls for more progress on the matter of the missing persons.
“While I welcome the results achieved by the Committee (on Missing Persons) during the reporting period, I also note that up to fifty years after their disappearance, half of all missing persons have yet to be located and more than seventy per cent have yet to be identified. It is critical that the work of the Committee suffer no further delays,” he said.
Ban’s comments have displeased government circles since he made no mention of Turkish actions that caused the negotiations to falter, a government source told the Cyprus News Agency.
“The UN must take a clear stand and give a true picture about which side is responsible for the non-resumption of talks in Cyprus,” the source said.
By Evie Andreou