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Omirou rejects any notion of multilateral conference with guarantors

By Angelos Anastasiou

A summit between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities and Cyprus’ three guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey, and Great Britain – is categorically rejected, House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said on Wednesday, adding that those who express optimism for a settlement of the Cyprus problem in the near future need to exert pressure on Turkey.

In remarks at parliament, Omirou said that convening such a summit has been Turkey’s constant demand since 1960, and aimed at “downgrading the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus while upgrading the non-recognised breakaway regime in the north” – though Cyprus’ northern part was not occupied by Turkey until 1974, and unilaterally declared a ‘sovereign state’ in 1983.

“What must be done at the end of the negotiation process is an international conference, which will address the international aspect of the Cyprus problem, meaning the abolition of the guarantees of 1960, the withdrawal of occupying forces, and the removal of settlers,” he said.

Omirou said that the permanent members of the United Nations’ Security Council, the three guarantor powers, the European Union, and the Republic of Cyprus, should be the parties asked to participate in such a conference, noting that international conferences are attended by subjects of international law, and not by communities that have no international status.

However, he said, the President of the Republic of Cyprus would be able to invite representatives of the two communities as advisors.

The House Speaker commented on expressions of optimism by the European Union regarding the quick settlement of the Cyprus problem, saying that instead of such expressions there should be a turn towards Turkey.

“The European Union, Great Britain, as well as others who express an interest in a solution to the Cyprus problem should exert pressure on Turkey,” he said.

Omirou’s remarks followed rumours that UN special envoy to Cyprus Espen Barth Eide plans to bring the five parties together unofficially at next month’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Though none of the parties were informed of such plans, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu confirmed Akinci was invited and will attend the forum.

But the rumours sparked protest by political parties in Cyprus, with hardliner EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos going as far as urging the government to ask for Eide’s replacement.

“Mr Eide’s actions are outside his mandate and contradict the United Nations’ resolutions,” Sizopoulos said on Wednesday.

“His systematic efforts to convene a five-party conference, despite the disagreement of the Cyprus and Greek governments, lead to the conclusion that the President should go ahead and request his immediate recall.”

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