President Nikos Christodoulides has urged the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to heed the call of the Security Council and appoint a UN envoy to facilitate the resumption of the negotiations at the earliest opportunity, it emerged on Saturday.

In a letter dated June 23, 2023 sent to Guterres, that the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) has seen, Christodoulides also referred to his proposal for an active EU involvement in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem recalling that Guterres himself is a European and a former member of the European Council.

“As a European, with personal knowledge of the EU structure and dynamics, as a former member of the European Council, I am confident that you are fully cognisant of the added value of the EU’s potential contribution in our efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement, and in particular, at the current juncture, in facilitating the UN’s efforts to resume negotiations through the appointment of an EU representative that can work in a complementary manner to the UN-led efforts and to a UN envoy, once such an envoy is appointed,” Christodoulides said in his letter to Guterres.

Moreover, he reiterated “in the strongest possible terms” his readiness to resume negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and from where they were left-off in Crans-Montana.

The letter was sent following the telephone conversation which Christodoulides and Guterres had on June 15 “during which there was a shared assessment that after the elections in Turkey there is a window of opportunity for the resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus problem,” Christodoulides noted.

“It is my strong conviction that this window of opportunity needs to be seized swifty and to be broadened. The clearing of the landscape following the election results in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, the improved climate in the relations between Greece and Turkey in the aftermath of the tragic earthquakes in Turkey, as well as the geopolitical shifts generated by the ongoing international turmoil, as expressed in particular through the war in Ukraine, underpin the imperative need to resume the UN led process for Cyprus and to put an end to the six-year long stalemate,” the president said.

He said the current status quo in Cyprus was neither viable nor static and there was a threat that Turkey would lead Cyprus towards a permanent division or annexation, and thus of European Union territory.

“This has been evidenced by the Turkish side’s intensified actions aiming at legitimising the secessionist entity and creating faits accomplis on the ground, in particular in Varosha, where Turkey continues the gradual reopening of the fenced area, in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, while it continues to further upgrade its military infrastructure in the occupied areas,” he noted, expressing concern “that during President Erdogan’s visit to the occupied areas on 12th June, he reiterated the unacceptable ideas of a two-state solution”.

Christodoulides added in his letter that Guterres and himself agreed that the only viable and acceptable solution in Cyprus was a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Furthermore, he said that “in an effort to broaden and maximise the potential of this window of opportunity for the resumption of negotiations, I have also put forward a proposal whereby the European Union can facilitate the UN’s efforts for the resumption of negotiations, by assuming a more active role at a political level.”

He added that Guterres had witnessed the positive impact of the EU’s involvement during the previous round of the negotiations.

Christodoulides said in his letter that “in today’s turbulent global landscape, our approach cannot be other than to address the root causes of all international problems including the Cyprus problem”.

“I am well aware that for a long-standing problem such as the one in Cyprus there can be fatigue and pessimism. At the same time however, I am fully conscious that in the face of the current difficulties, we cannot allow ourselves to compromise with the permanent division of Cyprus,” he added.

He noted that “in light of the situation in Ukraine and other world crises, you reminded us of the need to reaffirm the core values enshrined in the UN Charter. Cyprus is proof that violations of the UN charter have become the norm and where peace is both elusive and fragile. We now have an opportunity to rectify this situation.”

The president stressed that “achieving a viable, comprehensive settlement in Cyprus and ending the long-standing division of the island will not only benefit its own people, but send the message that UN values and resolutions stand and have meaning”.

“I therefore urge you to heed the call of the Security Council and appoint a UN envoy to facilitate the resumption of the negotiations at the earliest opportunity. I reiterate my commitment to positively engage in this respect. I will spare no effort in this regard and I will continue to count on the UN and you personally to chart the way ahead towards a new era of peace, security, stability and prosperity for Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean,” Christodoulides concluded in his letter to Guterres.

Earlier in the week, Guterres’ report on his Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus stressed an important step forward would be an agreement with the sides on an appointment of a United Nations envoy.

He urged leaders of the two sides to promote more contact and cooperation as well open more crossing points.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos is set to meet with Guterres in New York on Tuesday. Talks with UN officials will be centred solely on efforts to restart negotiations, according to an announcement from the ministry.

He will also have separate meetings with UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Secretary General for Political Affairs, Rosemary Di Carlo. The foreign minister will conclude his contacts at the UN headquarters with a meeting on Wednesday 12 July with the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Miguel de Serpa Soares.