President Nicos Anastasiades hopes that the new Turkish Cypriot leader will show the necessary political will to create a more conducive climate for restarting the talks, government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said on Monday ahead of the leaders’ meeting on Tuesday.
This will be the first meeting between Anastasiades and Ersin Tatar who was elected last month.
The two leaders will meet at 7pm on Tuesday at the Chief of Mission’s residence in the United Nations Protected Area in Nicosia in the presence of UN secretary-general’s deputy special adviser, Elizabeth Spehar.
All eyes are on this meeting, given Tatar’s open opposition to a bizonal, bicommunal federation, the solution already agreed and reaffirmed by the two communities several times thus far.
Koushos said on Monday that this will be a first, informal meeting so that the two leaders can get to know each other, but that Anastasiades will also “convey to Mr Tatar, his strong political will to respond positively to the call by the UN secretary-general for resuming the talks”.
He expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot side would also respond positively to the UNSG’s call and show the same political will.
Koushos added that Anastasiades would also raise the issue of the partial opening of the fenced area of Varosha and the need to UN Security Council resolutions on the issue.
“Developments on Famagusta do not contribute to a proper climate for the restart of the talks,” Koushos said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month expressed readiness to provide his Good Offices mission for the resumption of talks and to build on the existing body of work. He also expressed hope that this first informal contact would pave the way for fruitful discussions and reiterated his commitment to explore with the two leaders as well as with the guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the UK, the possibility of launching an informal five-party plus UN summit at an appropriate stage.
“Depending on the prevailing climate and circumstances, the UN will assess the situation to continue their actions aimed at convening an informal five-party meeting,” Koushos said as regards Tuesday’s meeting.
“We are firmly committed to continuing the talks with clear positions. There must be a solution based on and in line with UN decisions, UN resolutions, convergences achieved and in line with EU principles and values.”
Cyprus, he said, is an EU member and will continue to be even after the solution of the Cyprus problem.
He added that these positions will be conveyed again to the UN secretary-general or his representatives. “But we have no choice but to come to the talks. It is a political decision, and it is our firm position that the Cyprus issue should be resolved through negotiations and talks,” Koushos said.
For his part, Tatar said that he would convey to Anastasiades that the embargoes on and the ‘isolation’ of the Turkish Cypriots ought to be reassessed.
He said they were an imposition and that with such enforcement there could be no solution.
He also referred to the absence of direct flights to the north, arguing that this is due to the ‘veto’ of the Greek Cypriot side.
In the meantime, British High Commissioner to Cyprus, Stephen Lillie, warned that as long as the Cyprus issue remains unresolved, problems will arise that concern Famagusta.
During an interview with daily Kathimerini published on Sunday, Lillie said that there was still a window of opportunity for a solution to the Cyprus issue, but that as time goes by, this window is slowly closing, creating less favourable conditions.
On Tatar’s election, he said that whether some people like it or not, he was the new Turkish Cypriot leader for the next five years and there should be talks. He said he believed that although for the new Turkish Cypriot leader the best solution is two states, he has not closed the door on the federal model.