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EU confirms will be present at Geneva talks

Un Geneva
The UN Geneva building where the talks will take place

The EU will be present at the conference on Cyprus, convened by the UN, both in the initial phase in Geneva and in the next phase of in-depth negotiations, a senior EU official confirmed on Thursday.

The official was responding to a question by the Cyprus News Agency during a press point in Brussels ahead of the forthcoming Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on Monday.

The senior EU official stated: “The EU will be in Geneva; it will be in the subsequent negotiations with the same status it had in Crans-Montana. This is clear.”

Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos had said on Wednesday the government was trying to persuade the UN to invite the EU to the informal summit set to take place from April 27 to 29 in Geneva. The EU had said it wanted to participate as an observer but Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side objected, citing, among other things, a perceived lack of impartiality on the part of the bloc in favour of the Greek Cypriot side.

The EU official pointed out on Thursday that the Cyprus problem was one of the most difficult diplomatic issues, “but whatever the solution, it will be implemented with the island inside the EU, we have the acquis communautaire, it is a logical consequence that we will be there.”

He also explained that Turkey is one of the topics at the FAC meeting on Monday and pointed out that “there is more unity in the Council than ever on the issue of Turkey among the member states.”

He added that the EU High Representative’s report will be comprehensive and contain a description of Turkey’s behaviour, considering all the different possibilities. “The measures obviously remain on the table, they are not withdrawn and this will be part of our political guidance.”

The official reminded that the EU is also monitoring the human rights and rule of law situation, but whether there will be a reaction, such as sanctions under the new EU regime, “is up to the member states” in the next phase.

He reiterated that “the situation in the eastern Mediterranean has improved”, adding that the positive agenda covers everything in EU-Turkey relations.

According to the official, the discussion on Turkey at the FAC will prepare the leaders’ discussion at the European Council summit. He noted that the situation in the eastern Mediterranean was better, but all policy options remained on the table, including both a positive agenda and the call of some member states for additional listings.

The discussion on Turkey will feed into the member states’ comments on the report prepared by the High Representative Josep Borrell and will be presented to the leaders, the official explained.

President of the European Council Charles Michel is scheduled on Friday afternoon to hold a video conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Earlier on Friday Michel is to hold a teleconference with President Nicos Anastasiades and the government leaders of Denmark, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia.

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