Cyprus-related issues should not be a footnote in a wider Greco Turkish dialogue to diffuse the crisis in the eastern Mediterranean, the island’s permanent representative at the UN and chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis said on Wednesday.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Mavroyiannis said Cyprus should maintain its own decisive role in its own issues and the EU must provide support and not bundle everything together.
Mavroyiannis said the ongoing tensions between Greece and Turkey were a “fluid situation” as he expressed concern that “Cyprus could become what is easily sacrificed in the bigger package.”
The ambassador said certain EU countries had a managing approach towards Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, losing in this way any deterring ability the EU has.
“This approach is completely wrong and probably helps Turkey and no one else,” he said.
Mavroyiannis reiterated that Cyprus should be able to handle its own issues.
“This is exactly the big problem. Both as regards the issues between Greece and Turkey as well as those between Europe and Turkey, the tendency is for the Cyprus problem to be lost and become a footnote,” he said.
Of the lack of any negotiations on the Cyprus problem, Mavroyiannis said the Greek Cypriot side was not setting any terms for any procedural agreement.
“Where conditions come into play by their nature is in how we start substantive negotiation. That is where the conditions must be created, not having Yavuz (drilling for gas inside Cyprus’ EEZ) and not acting under threat.”
Turkey announced at the weekend that its Yavuz drill ship would extend operations in waters off Cyprus until mid-September
Mavroyiannis said Turkish Cypriots were working intensively to open the ghost town of Varosha.
“At what point do you say I am drawing the line here? I believe we have gone past it,” he said.
Construction has already started in the northern part and it will start on the coastal front of the enclosed area at any moment, he said.
He added that the only way to prevent developments was through pressure and influence on behalf of the international community and this was what Cyprus must achieve, though it was a difficult endeavour.