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Michel, Metsola to push for UN Cyprus envoy (update 3)

state of the european union address in strasbourg
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola

The appointment of a special UN envoy for Cyprus remained at the top of President Nikos Christodoulides’ agenda as he met with EU officials on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

The president attended the opening session, which included speeches by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US President Joe Biden, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, this was perhaps the first time since the Turkish invasion that a Cypriot president was present at the UN General Assembly while a Turkish president delivered a speech.

In his speech, Erdogan said the recent incidents in Pyla are “a manifestation of the void institutional structure [of the UN] that does not inspire justice and trust”.

On the Cyprus issue, the Turkish president said that “the transformation of the Eastern Mediterranean into an area where peace, prosperity and stability will prevail is possible only with respect for rights and laws by all parties”.

He went on to claim that in the past 60 years, “the Turkish Cypriot side has always made sincere efforts to find a fair, permanent and sustainable solution,” asserting that a federation-based solution is no longer viable.

“We call on the international community to accept this and to recognise the independence of the ‘TRNC’ and to establish diplomatic, political and economic ties with this country”.

Erdogan also said Turkey expects Unficyp “to comply with the neutrality it is obliged to demonstrate.

“We do not want this Force, whose reputation has already been damaged, to face a new loss of reputation in Cyprus,” he said.

Nicosia’s first reactions came from diplomatic sources, who said that the Cypriot government “did not expect anything different” from Erdogan on the Cyprus issue, and looked towards the upcoming meeting between the Turkish president and his Greek counterpart.

Christodoulides is expected to extend a personal message to Erdogan while addressing the General Assembly on Wednesday, where he will send a message for a positive agenda.

On the sidelines of the session, Christodoulides and European Council president Charles Michel held a private meeting, which, according to a press release, “focused on the efforts being made to end the deadlock on the Cyprus issue and the contribution of the European institutions in this direction”.

In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis shared a photo and said the two discussed the next steps required towards creating the prospect of resuming negotiations.

A source said that during the meeting, Michel told the president that on Sunday, when he is due to meet the UNSG, he will reiterate that the EU insists on the immediate appointment of a special envoy for Cyprus so that a settlement process can begin.

Michel was said to be optimistic and considers that the UNSG will proceed with this appointment.

The president also had a short meeting with European Parliament Roberta Metsola, who was expected to meet with Guterres and convey the same message.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Metsola was reminded of the importance of the envoy’s appointment during an earlier telephone conversation with the president, after which she said that during her meeting with Guterres she will convey the necessity for the prompt appointment of an envoy.

The same sources said that it is not clear yet whether Guterres will invite Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar to a joint meeting in New York or later, or if he will proceed with an appointment without a meeting.

The appointment of an envoy has been repeatedly stressed by Christodoulides recently, and will be on the agenda of his own meetings in New York.

“The messages are clear. They are what we have been publicly stating and what I have included in several letters I sent to the Secretary-general, emphasising the need for the appointment of a special representative to explore the prospects for resuming negotiations,” Christodoulides said on Sunday.

He also highlighted the importance of the meeting between Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York, scheduled for overnight Cyprus time, concerning efforts to revive the negotiation process for Cyprus.

ΠτΔ Πρόεδρος Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου
Charles Michel with Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides in New York

 

Meanwhile, speaking to Turkish media in New York, Tatar said that “There is no nation called Cypriot.

“In Cyprus you are either Turkish or Greek. That’s how it was and that’s how it continues to be. When we explain this, some agree with us,” he said, defending again his policy for a two-state solution for the Cyprus problem.

Tatar said that he will continue to invite the international community to see the realities on the island and spoke of injustice on the part of the European Parliament regarding the content of the latest report on Turkey’s progress.

He also addressed the issues in Pyla, saying that his ‘government’ is determined to build a road there, with the support of Turkey, reiterating that the project is humanitarian and that they neither have “an eye on someone’s land nor are they eyeing territory”.

After meeting Metsola, Christodoulides had separate meetings with the Director of the UN Sustainable Development Network, Jeffrey Sachs, the President of North Macedonia Stevo Pentarovski, and the President of Moldova, Maia Sandu.

At 10pm Cyprus time he will speak at the Summit of leaders on the topic of “Unity and Solidarity”, while in the evening, he and the first lady will attend the reception hosted by President Biden and his wife for the heads of state participating in the UN General Assembly.

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