A meeting between the UN Secretary-general and the Turkish President will “determine the next moves” on the Cyprus problem, President Nikos Christodoulides said in New York on Monday.
“I consider the meeting of the secretary general with the Turkish president as the most decisive one as regards […] the Cyprus issue,” he said.
UNSG Antonio Guterres is set to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.
According to diplomatic sources, Guterres is expected to ask Erdogan if he accepts the appointment of a special envoy for the Cyprus problem, the Cyprus News Agency reported.
Moreover, the sources said that if Turkey’s position is negative then it is important to see how this will be justified, since an envoy would have been tasked to feel out prospects for the resumption of talks.
The sources also note that Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who will meet with Guterres on Saturday, will not make any decisions without Turkey’s guidance.
Christodoulides is due to address the 78th session of the UN general assembly on Wednesday and meet Guterres on Friday.
A scheduled meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Erdogan is also expected to include the Cyprus problem.
As regards who could be appointed by the UNSG, the sources said the US administration have some ideas which they are discussing with Guterres.
Christodoulides said that “the messages are clear” from his past efforts, and that a special envoy to ascertain prospects for the resumption of talks must be appointed.
He said his meetings in New York, as well as those of Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, have three objectives.
The first and most important has to do with the Cyprus problem and opening a path, first for the appointment of an envoy and, after that, for the resumption of talks.
The second concerns energy, in light of EU efforts to end energy dependence on Russia and to establish new energy routes. Christodoulides’ meetings in New York reflect this.
The diplomatic sources said it is important for Cyprus to be used for the transport of gas to Europe, as well as certain quantities to be transported to Egypt.
The third objective is concerned with attracting quality investments to Cyprus, particularly from the US.
“It is a goal that we have set with the US administration and we are working [towards] specific investments,” he said.
Christodoulides is due to meet the President of the European Commission, as well as the President of the European Council to “convey the readiness of the EU” regarding the Cyprus problem.
Christodoulides expressed his readiness to discuss the “full spectrum” of Euro-Turkish relations, especially in areas of “interest on the part of Turkey.”
In response to a question about Greco-Turkish relations the president said, any contact made at the level of Greece and Turkey was helpful to Cyprus.
“An improvement in Greco-Turkish relations will certainly help our own efforts, but […] we cannot talk about a complete normalisation of Greco-Turkish relations without resolving the Cyprus issue,” he said.
He reiterated “we are absolutely committed to solving the Cyprus problem on the basis of the agreed framework and […] we have the support of the international community, especially the EU and the US.”
Asked about prospects of a joint meeting with the UNSG and Tatar, Christodoulides said there was no time frame as yet. “Our readiness to hold such a meeting is there,” he said.
It is up to the secretary general to determine towards the end of the week whether or not such a meeting is feasible now or later, the president added.
“What I can tell you is [that] the message from the Republic, the EU [and] member states, such as Germany and France, [is that there is a need] to proceed with such a meeting and the appointment of a personality.”
This is what the security council itself requested repeatedly and again recently after what happened in Pyla, the president said.