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‘President has not changed position on settlement’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

President Nicos Anastasiades has not changed his position as to what type of settlement solution the Greek Cypriot side is seeking, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Saturday.

In a written statement, Prodromou said that “the position of the Greek Cypriot side and of President Anastasiades as regards the form of the solution we seek, which is determined by the UN Resolutions and decisions, is firm, has not changed and is tabled in the most formal way at the negotiations, before the UN and elsewhere.”

He was responding to a statement by member of Akel’s political bureau Eleni Mavrou following the circulation as an official document of the UN Secretary-General’s report on the efforts to reach a solution in Cyprus.

Mavrou asked in a written statement on Saturday how the goal set by Guterres on the recommencement of the talks is being served, when Anastasiades is on the one hand declaring that “reunification is not a choice, it is a one-way road” but on the other he insinuates that when the time is right, “we should even consider a solution of two independent states instead of a bizonal-bicommunal federation”?

“Mr Anastasiades must finally give clear answers both to the UNSG and the Cypriot people,” Mavrou said.

In response, Prodromou said that the UNSG, in his report, expresses concern for the fact that since the July 2017 talks in Crans Montana, a year has passed without any negotiations, adding that the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side’s position and possibility to participate in the negotiations depends on the developments in Turkey is indeed a big problem at the negotiations.

“As to who are the ones who are working on the idea of abandoning the UN parameters and refer to ‘two states’, there is a clear reference to the General Secretary’s report,” Prodromou said. He referred to paragraph eight of the report that says: “With respect to the guarantor powers, in its public statements since July 2017 Turkey has expressed doubts as to the possibility of reaching a settlement based on the established parameters given the outcome of the conference in Crans-Montana and past failures. Turkey has nonetheless reiterated its support for a “sustainable settlement” of the Cyprus issue. Greece, for its part, has reiterated its commitment to finding a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions and the framework that I had set out in Crans-Montana. Lastly, the United Kingdom has emphasised its strong support for a comprehensive settlement and its readiness to do its part to achieve that goal.”

One small change was made in the final report – circulated late on Friday – compared to the unofficial one that was given to the members of the UN Security Council on June 15. The change concerns paragraph 10 of the report, in which the name of the Italian energy company ENI has been removed.
According to local media reports, the change has nothing to do with political reasons, but due to that ENI is a public company listed on the stock exchange.

The paragraph now reads: “10. Tensions over hydrocarbon activities, however, began to escalate early in 2018. Most significantly, on 9 February, an Italian energy company was prevented by Turkish military ships from gaining access to a planned drilling area in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. In mid-March, the company’s drillship departed the eastern Mediterranean without having been able to conduct its intended exploratory drilling.”

In his report, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also says that in the coming period he intends to send a senior United Nations official to conduct in-depth consultations with the parties in the framework of the efforts to solve the Cyprus issue.

The UNSG says: “I believe there is still scope for the sides to act responsibly and decisively in order to chart a common way forward for the island.”

The consultations, he said, will provide a more formal, structured, and detailed channel for the parties to convey to the United Nations the outcomes of their reflection since Crans-Montana and to help determine whether conditions have or have not matured at this stage for a meaningful process. “I encourage the parties to recognise the importance of this exercise and to seize the opportunity accordingly,” Guterres said in the report.

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