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Cyprus Talks

Guterres’ comments ‘a message about Turkish side’s tactics’

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou

The government on Thursday said the statements made by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the Cyprus issue were a message about the Turkish side’s tactics.

Guterres underlined on Wednesday the importance for the two sides to quickly reach an agreement on the terms of reference, in order to start settlement talks, adding that “the political process needs to be restarted.”

“it’s very important to quickly come to an agreement on the terms of reference to be able to start substantial talks that this time I would hope would be different from all past ones. So that is the message I will convey to all the leaders that I will meet,” he said during a press conference ahead of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

He said it was time to at least agree on the terms of reference, based on the work that was done, namely at Crans-Montana, “because I’m a strong believer that the political process needs to be restarted and I think that is also very important for the parties.”

“I see a lot of impatience, namely the Security Council with the fact that there has been no progress. So I believe that there are very good reasons for the parties to understand that at least on terms of reference they need to come to an agreement,” Guterres said.

Guterres’ envoy Jane Holl Lute held back-to-back separate meetings with the two leaders starting on September 1 but was unable to overcome a sticking point that emerged between the two sides, reportedly involving the co-governance issue, to decide on terms of reference to restart the talks.

Asked to comment on Thursday, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the UN chief’s statements were “supportive to the effort of President Nicos Anastasiades, who responds with a positive spirit and political will throughout this period to the UNSG’s initiative”,  while it also sends a message to the Turkish side which has been trying “by adopting delaying tactics to divert the negotiations and the process, or even hinder the formulation of the terms of reference.”

Prodromou said it was important that Guterres’ initiative was currently underway, noting that the UNSG himself recalled, while responding to journalists, that the main goal was to reach an agreement on the terms of reference.

“This is what the Secretary-General has asked for, and it is certainly positive that he underlined that substantive negotiations need to resume, building of course on the work that was done during the Conference in Crans Montana,” Prodromou added.

Asked if Nicosia considers the fact that Turkish drillship Yavuz had withdrawn and that the Fatih would also withdraw from the west of the island, as a de-escalation, Prodromou said the situation would be evaluated.
He said however that for negotiations to resume, Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ needed to end.

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