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Cyprus problem solution a necessity, says Akinci

UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres with the two leaders in Berlin last November

The Berlin trilateral has yielded a new opportunity as regards a solution, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said, adding he expected that after the elections in the north all sides would contribute to a five-party conference on Cyprus.

According to Turkish Cypriot media, Akinci, during a tour in various villages in the north during the weekend, said that after the Annan plan and Crans- Montana talks in 2017, a new opportunity for a solution has emerged from the trilateral meeting in Berlin between himself, President Nicos Anastasiades and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

He also said that he expects that after the elections in the north next April and the conclusion of the Brexit procedure, all sides would contribute so that a five-party conference would take place as per Guterres’ announcement after the Berlin meeting.

After good preparation from all sides, he said, the UN Secretary-General is ready to initiate a five-party meeting, which is part of the Berlin Declaration.

He added that developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the risks that lie ahead for both sides on the island in the case there is no solution, make the settlement of the Cyprus problem a necessity, not just for the two communities but for everyone in the region.

Referring to the outcome of the two leaders’ meeting in Berlin with the UN Secretary-General, Akinci reiterated that the goal is now a strategic agreement with a results-oriented, not open-ended process and which will not be a repetition of old processes.

Guterres announced after last November’s meeting in Berlin with the two leaders that he has agreed to extend his efforts “to achieve terms of reference to serve as a consensus starting point for phased, meaningful, and results-oriented negotiations at the earliest feasible opportunity”. He also said he committed to explore with the two leaders and the guarantor powers the possibility of convening an informal five-plus-UN meeting at an appropriate stage.

In the meantime, according to reports in Greek Cypriot media on Sunday, Nicosia is not happy by an initiative by the UK, one of the three guarantor powers, to promote more direct cooperation between the two sides through the text of the UN Security Council resolution on the renewal of the Unficyp mandate.

The Security Council is expected to vote on the resolution for the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force on the island on Thursday.

According to Phileleftheros, the UK, citing the latest report by Guterres on Unficyp, is pushing for a direct cooperation system between the two sides on the island. The Cypriot foreign ministry has been making representations to the five permanent members of the Security Council but also London, in a bid to avert such a provision in the resolution, the daily reported.

Kathimerini too reports that the draft text of the resolution that circulated last week, calls for direct cooperation between the two sides on all issues, without UN involvement.

The daily cites diplomatic circles arguing that such a thing, beyond normalising the status quo, would make difficult any effort to keep alive prospects for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

The same circles told the paper that this move has caught Nicosia by surprise given that a procedure for the solution of the Cyprus problem is underway on an agreement on the terms of reference for the resumption of talks and a five-party meeting.

In his latest report on Unficyp, Guterres has recommended the Security Council extend the peacekeeping force’s mandate for another six months, until July 31.

He also urged the parties to work to establish a military contact mechanism to meet the expectations of the Security Council but also to make a genuine effort in exploring new or enhanced avenues for cooperation on key civilian matters, including in relation to law and order.


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