President Nikos Christodoulides on Monday briefed the head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus (Unficyp) Colin Stewart on his recent discussions with French president Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Paris last week.
According to government spokesperson Constantinos Letymbiotis, Stewart was positively impressed with the President’s efforts aimed at breaking the deadlock on the Cyprus problem.
“What we welcome with satisfaction is the fact that the UN considers the EU an important partner in the effort to solve the Cyprus problem,” Letymbiotis told the media during a press briefing.
“This includes and is based on the President’s proposal for a more active and substantive involvement of the EU in the effort to overcome the deadlock.”
The spokesperson added that Christodoulides will increase his diplomatic efforts with the leaders of EU member states, in order for a formal action plan to be put forward as soon as possible.
“Having also in mind that the Turkish presidential elections are underway, we aim to make use of this valuable time, so that negotiations can resume at the earliest opportunity,” he said.
Letymbiotis also underlined that during the meeting with Stewart, the President said that “our side is ready”, adding that Greek Cypriots are willing to sit at the negotiating table and are calling on Turkish Cypriots and on Turkey to consider returning to a discussion for a solution based on a bizonal bicommunal federation.
When asked if the developments in Varosha were discussed during the meeting, the spokesperson said that Christodoulides expressed his concern to Stewart, who assured him that the UN is closely monitoring the situation.
“Moreover, the President reiterated his willingness to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and discuss all the ongoing issues in a positive climate,” Letymbiotis said.
Regarding the ongoing presidential elections in Turkey, Christodoulides told Stewart that Cyprus is waiting for the final results to show Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side that the resolution of the Cyprus problem is in the interest of all parties involved.
“Active engagement from the EU in the process is crucial, Christodoulides was quoted saying by Letymbiotis.
Following the meeting, Stewart also made statements to the media, praising Christodoulides and the government for the recent efforts on the Cyprus problem.
“We spoke about what we can do to move things forward on the Cyprus problem. We both see an opportunity in the coming months once this period of elections is over in the region and we both agreed that we want to do everything possible to substantially move things forward,” he said.
Asked about the meetings he had recently with EU officials in Brussels, Stewart said the trip was basically a familiarisation visit.
“It was my first trip to Brussels. But certainly, there is a lot of support over there for the idea that the moment for peace talks is arriving when we need to make another push,” Stewart said.
He then added that the UN considers the EU to be an important partner in the Cyprus problem.
“We work closely together on confidence building measures on the ground and as in the past the EU has always provided important political and technical support.
“However, as we know, the participation in any mediation process and talks requires consensus from all concerned,” Stewart concluded.