Austria has extended an invitation to host Cyprus reunification talks, its ambassador told the Cyprus News Agency in an interview as the country takes over the EU presidency.
“The EU has always supported and accompanied the UN-facilitated negotiations on a settlement for Cyprus. Initiatives would only be taken if so wished by all sides, and in close coordination with the United Nations’ good offices mission. Austria has, nonetheless, extended an open invitation to host reunification talks,” Ambassador Eva Maria Ziegler said.
Austria assumes the next presidency of the Council of the EU from July until December.
“Austria supports and hopes for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement reunifying Cyprus, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded,” she said.
Regarding Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the possibility that they intensify during the Austrian EU presidency, she recalled the unified message given in March by EU heads of state including Austria’s, saying that this message “has been very clear: The European Council has called on Turkey to cease illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean See and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International law”.
Asked about the status of the Austrian contingent of Unficyp and whether there will be any changes, she said that Austria is happy to continue its present engagement. Currently several Austrian staff officers are deployed with Unficyp.
She added that other priorities of the presidency are to protect peace and prosperity in Europe, dealing with climate change, terrorism, immigration and Brexit as well as the multiannual financial framework post 2020.