Cyprus Mail

GC negotiator believes there can be a renewed effort on Cyprus talks

Συνέντευξη στο ΚΥΠΕ – Διαπρ. για το Κυπριακό Μενέλαος Μενελάου
Greek Cypriot negotiator Menelaos Menelaou

Chief Greek Cypriot negotiator Menelaos Menelaou believes there is the possibility for developments on the Cyprus problem, pointing to the need to resolve uncertainties in the region.

He explained that the apparent thawing in relations between Ankara and Athens, along with wider activity in the eastern Mediterranean, means that there could be renewed focus to resolve the issue.

“It is possible that in the coming period we will be faced with developments that will allow the possibility of a renewed effort, including the Cyprus problem, to be put on the table in a more realistic way,” he told CNA in an interview.

But Menelaou warned that the lack of negotiations means that there is the risk of developments occurring unilaterally, such as the annexation of the north by Turkey.

“Yes, there is this danger, it is one of the issues which we are faced with during this period,” he said.

Asked on ways of breaking the impasse, Menelaou reiterated that the EU can have a more active role in the process as it is able to offer greater incentives to all parties involved.

He emphasised that the UN continues to have the leading role but highlighted the ways in which the EU is actively engaged – such as through the Green Line Regulation. The chief negotiator also pointed to the significant financial assistance provided by the EU to the Turkish Cypriot community, which he said from 2006 amounts to over half a billion euros.

As for what the resumption of talks would look like, he explained that it would be from where they left off in Crans Montana in 2017. He stated that there had been immense progress on key issues up until that point.

All that hard work, he said, lays strong foundations for the process to continue and the issue to finally be resolved.

The north and Turkey, however, have repeatedly rejected such proposals – stating that talks based on a bi-zonal, bicommunal resolution are over and the only way forward is for the north to be recognised as an equal.

Some have expressed hope that the May 14 elections in Turkey could change that stance.

That appears to have prompted Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar last month to state that he will resign if Ankara changes its policy on Cyprus.

He argued that the possibility of Ankara changing its view is unlikely, reasoning that the Cyprus problem is a matter of national interest for Turkey which spans the political spectrum.

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