The parallels between the problems of Cyprus and Ukraine should refocus the attention of the international community to what has happened here since 1974, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Wednesday.

He was speaking to the media after a meeting with Cypriot diplomats accredited as heads of diplomatic missions around the world. Held every year, the meeting focuses on foreign policy, including efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.

Discussion centered on Ukraine which the minister said provides an opportunity for Cyprus to “get back to basics”.

This meant highlighting that the problem of Cyprus is a problem of invasion and occupation, and a violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty, unity and independence of a country member of the United Nations, as is happening today with Ukraine.

“It is time this parallel brings back the attention of the international community to what happened since 1974 and is still going on for 48 years” he stressed.

The meeting also discussed the confidence building measures proposed by the Greek Cypriot side and how to handle the issue from now on. Cyprus’ regional policy and European policy will be covered in another session.

As to when the Greek Cypriot side will respond to the Turkish Cypriot leader’s proposals, Kasoulides said that these will be studied carefully and recalled that the President of the Republic is currently restricted, after having tested positive for Covid-19. “There is no rush, we will study them carefully” he said.

Regarding the UN resolution for the renewal of the mandate of UNFICYP, the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, Kasoulides said that it is a positive development that a phrase welcoming the proposals of both leaders was avoided.

He explained that when the resolution was drafted the proposal of the other side had not even been forwarded to our side.

Invited to comment on the fact that a few months ago he had said that he expected some mobility as regards the CBMs in the summer, Kasoulides said that this is true, because back then he had received some positive and encouraging messages. But he noted that relations between Greece and Turkey have worsened, and developments did not allow to focus further on this effort.

Asked about his contacts in Italy, he said that they discussed the EastMed proposal to transfer natural gas to mainland Europe.

But replying to a question, he noted that Italy did not participate in the group of countries behind the EastMed initiative citing problems with local protests from environmental groups and others about where the pipeline would end.

“I hope that the pipeline is viable because once it is viable everything else is solved”, Kasoulides said.