Foreign Minister, Nicos Christodoulides, said on Tuesday that he asked his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis to convey the message to Turkey that Cyprus was ready to engage in dialogue provided that Ankara ends its activities in the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“It is only through dialogue that a solution can be reached on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions and the principles upon which the European Union is founded,” he said.
Christodoulides and Cassis held talks in the framework of a working visit by the Swiss minister before he visits Greece and Turkey, where he will meet his respective counterparts to discuss the Cyprus issue and the EEZ.
Cassis said in his statements that he would speak to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu “to try to convince him to find the best way possible in order to restart the talks” on Cyprus.
He said Switzerland was honoured to host five rounds of Cyprus talks in 2016 and 2017 in Mont Pelerin, Geneva and Crans-Montana. “We were not far away from a solution but we didn’t reach a solution. So it is very important for Switzerland to reiterate our offer to support this process with our good offices” he said.
Christodoulides said noted in his statements after meeting Cassis that he had made it clear “and I think it is particularly important as Ignazio will be visiting Ankara in the coming days” that in order for negotiations to resume Turkey must first cease its “illegal and provocative activities” within Cyprus’ EEZ.
“Unfortunately, the signs are not positive in this respect as Turkey has chosen instead to escalate its provocations further in the last few days by proceeding with a new, illegal drilling operation,” Christodoulides added.
He also said he had briefed his Swiss counterpart on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue and shared “our strong commitment to the resumption of negotiations at the earliest” from the point from where they left off in Crans-Montana.
Christodoulides and Cassis also discussed bilateral ties affairs, and European, regional and international issues of common interest and concern.
“We examined concrete ways in which we could strengthen our cooperation in a manner that is mutually beneficial,” he said.
Cassis also referred to his visit on Monday to the UN buffer zone in Nicosia and his meeting with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar, as well as to his visit to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus anthropological lab.
The Swiss minister also said his country was ready to support a future candidacy of Cyprus for the UN Security Council, and thanked Cyprus for supporting Switzerland’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for 2023-2024. He also said that he invited Christodoulides to visit to Switzerland.