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EU will participate as an observer at Cyprus conference

File Photo: European Union Leaders Discuss The Situation In Belarus During A Video Conference In Brussels
Charles Michel

The EU will be an observer at the five-plus-one summit on the Cyprus problem as it has been in the past, European Council President Charles Michel said on Friday.

Replying to a question from the Cyprus News Agency after the end of the second day of the EU27 summit teleconference, Michel said the EU would remain committed to the issue as it believes it can play a positive and fruitful role for greater progress in the region.

The statements follow those by Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu, who said on Thursday that their side does not accept the participation of the EU in the five-plus-one summit slated to take place on April 27 to 29 in Geneva.

Michel said that in the past, the EU has played a role as an observer “and we will still be an observer in this 5+1 process regarding the Cyprus settlement.”

“We are going to be very committed as EU because we think indeed that we can play a positive role, a fruitful role in order to support all the positive efforts in order to have more progress in the region.”

He said the EU wanted more stability and predictability in the eastern Mediterranean.

“We know that there are some difficulties, some disputes, and we will try to do our best in order to protect European interests, the interest of the member states and also to give more stability and predictability in this important region for us,” Michel said.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides pointed out that EU’s role at the summit would be that of observer as this conference would not be a negotiation but rather a discussion on the way forward.

“The EU must be present with substantive participation if and when the negotiations start,” Christodoulides told state broadcaster CyBC.

He said that during the talks in Crans-Montana in 2017, the EU was represented at a political and technological level and gave solutions to many issues on which there were disagreements.

The minister also said that if Turkey truly means that it wants to strengthen its relations with the EU, it has no reason to worry about the bloc’s substantive role to the Cyprus process.

Christodoulides said that there would be no dialogue at the summit on the possibility of changing the solution framework.

“It is not even an issue to be discussed,” he said, adding that such a thing is not in line with UN Security Council resolutions, the Secretary-General’s mandate, or with what the international community is trying to achieve.

The goal, he said, is a positive outcome by the resumption of the talks from where they left off in Crans-Montana.

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