The proposal by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides for a package of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) is “a step in the right direction”, said Germany’s ambassador to Cyprus, Anke Schlimm.
In an interview to CNA, Schlimm reiterated that a two-state solution is not acceptable and that Germany remains committed to a federal solution for Cyprus.
In his last report to the Security Council, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to work together on confidence-building measures, noting that mechanisms of dialogue and rapprochement “can, in the absence of fully-fledged negotiations rekindle hope.”
Kasoulides presented a package of CBMs to the EU and international partners, including proposals to return Varosha, the fenced off part of Famagusta, to inhabitants under UN administration, along with operation of the airport and port in the north.
“We hope that Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot community will respond in an open and constructive way to the recent initiative by the Republic of Cyprus,” Schlimm said.
Asked about developments in Varosha, the ambassador said the solidarity of the European Union and Germany with Cyprus is “beyond question” and that Turkish actions in the fenced off area “remain unacceptable.”
She reiterated that the EU and the UN Security Council have condemned the change of status in Varosha as running contrary to all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, while Turkey has been called upon to reverse and avoid any further unilateral actions.
Asked about the pressure on Cyprus, due to migration, the ambassador said she shares the concern on rising numbers of irregular arrivals to the island and welcomes the cooperation of Cyprus with the EU Commission in this context.
“Germany has offered concrete support to Cyprus and initiated joint task forces on migration as a gesture of solidarity. The basis for this is a bilateral action plan (Joint Action Plan on Migration Management between Germany and Cyprus) that was agreed at the end of December 2020. The action plan provides, among other things, German support for the return of rejected asylum applicants to their country of origin,” Schlimm said.
According to the ambassador, Germany has offered to Cyprus to participate in a planned return flight to Pakistan, to take place in March.