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Positions of Turkish side diminish prospects for new talks, GC negotiator says

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Menelaos Menelaou (Photo: CNA)

The positions of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership make it difficult to try to restart Cyprus talks, Greek Cypriot negotiator Menelaos Menelou was quoted as saying on Sunday.

In an interview with Haravghi, Menelaou said the only thing the Greek Cypriot side could do at the moment was to take actions that were within its own hands “so that to the extent that it depends on us, we can push things in the right direction”.

“Things are really difficult because of the positions of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership. With the data in front of us there is not much room for positive expectations,” he said.

“What this reality primarily underlines is the need for us to continue and strengthen our efforts and the initiatives we undertake.”

This includes acting as a bulwark against provocations and attempts to provoke tensions, and to preserve the basis for a solution as provided for in the resolutions of the United Nations “to the extent that we can” and to create as soon as possible the conditions for revitalising the prospect for a solution.

Commenting on the thorny issue of the appointment of a UN envoy for Cyprus, Menelaou said that the Turkish side does not want to see the appointment of a special adviser for Cyprus but instead would prefer a personal envoy of the Secretary-General.

The difference is that a special adviser generally means that a UN negotiating process is underway. A personal envoy of the Secretary-General such as Jane Holl Lute at the time she was involved in Cyprus, facilitates the road to the start of negotiations.

“In order to bridge this difference, we proposed the appointment of a UN envoy without further specification,” said Menelaou. ” However, this also met with the refusal of the Turkish side. At this stage, the option of assigning this role to a high-ranking official of the UN Secretariat is being considered. It is something that we expect to clarify in the coming period,” he added.

Asked about the lack of mobility from the UN and the international community, Menelaou said that at least the messages that were being given out as regards the basis of a solution and the need to revitalise the talks process, were a step in the right direction, and had been reiterated in recent Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.

He said it must also be taken into account that at the moment there are other international problems, such as Ukraine, “which naturally absorb a large part of the interest and attention of the international community”.

“This of course also offers an opportunity for us to underline that there is also an open wound in Cyprus as a result of foreign invasion and occupation, which must be resolved based on international law and UN principles,” he added.

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