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Nicosia unhappy UN chief did not go harder on Turkey’s EEZ violations

Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz

Nicosia would expect that the UN Secretary-General’s references in his report on Unficyp on the issue of hydrocarbons would reflect better recent developments within the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), diplomatic sources said on Friday.

The government has yet to make an official statement on the draft of the report of Antonio Guterres on Unficyp in which he recommends the extension of the renewal of the peacekeeping force’s mandate for six months, until January 31, 2020.

It is expected that the government will officially comment on the report after it circulates as an official UN document.

Diplomatic sources, however, told the Cyprus News Agency that in light of Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ that Nicosia was expecting that Guterres’ references on the matter would better reflect these developments and be clearly more critical of Turkey.

Guterres said in his report that “in a concerning development, tensions over hydrocarbons continued to grow, with few prospects of subsiding in the near or medium term.”

The same sources said that the most important element of the report is the suggestion by Guterres for the renewal of Unficyp’s mandate in recognition of its continued contribution to the maintenance of peace and stability.

In his report, Guterres, though not explicitly naming the Greek Cypriot side, also took a dig at the preoccupation with citing potential recognition of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot ‘state’, hinting this was a pretext for disengaging.

“In their efforts to promote closer cooperation between the communities, local and international actors continue to be confronted with challenges and obstacles linked to the status of the north and concerns related to ‘recognition’,” Guterres said.

He said “concerns over ‘recognition’ should not in themselves constitute an insurmountable obstacle to increased cooperation” between the two sides and urged them to re-engage in talks to resolve the Cyprus problem “constructively, creatively and with the necessary urgency.”

Guterres also called on the parties redouble their efforts to restore full-fledged negotiations “and their engagement should be infused with a sense of purpose and determination to reach a successful end within a foreseeable horizon.”

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