Greece and Cyprus are in absolute coordination, President Nikos Christodoulides and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated, after their meeting on Wednesday and in the wake of the latter’s meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
The comment came as the president continues his contacts in New York after his address to the UN General Assembly where he continued to advocate for a settlement to the Cyprus issue inline with the UN agreed framework, in contrast to prior statements to the assembly by the Turkish president.
Observers on Wednesday expressed surprise when a much-hyped meeting scheduled between Erdogan and UN General Secretary Antionio Guterres did not materialise. The meeting had been deemed pivotal in statements made on Tuesday.
Silence over the matter was broken on Thursday when sources informed state broadcaster CyBC that the change in programme had been at the behest of Erdogan due to scheduling issues and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will now attend in his place. It had been speculated that at the said meeting the UNSG was to broach the topic of appointment of a UN envoy.
After his meeting with Mitsotakis, the president said, “I wish to express my satisfaction on everything I’ve heard from the prime minister of Greece. Our efforts are continuous and joint.”
Asked to comment on his meeting with Erdogan, Mitsotakis said the discussions were held in a positive atmosphere.
“On the other hand, they provided us with the opportunity to repeat our firm positions with regard to the Cyprus problem, always in absolute coordination with President Christodoulides,” the Greek MP said.
In statements later to the Greek community hosted by the permanent Greek representative to the UN, Mitsotakis said he had told Erdogan that any solution outside UN parameters was “simply unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar on Wednesday night told radio Bayrak that Christodoulides’ speech the to the UN “does not reflect reality” and backed up statements made to the assembly by Erdogan that the idea of a federal solution was defunct.
The Greek Cypriot side told the assembly that the conflict began in 1974 which is not true, Tatar said, since it had been ongoing since 1958.
What matters is to safeguard Turkish Cypriot equality on the island, he added.
Regarding Christodoulides’ statements to the UN that he had garnered Turkish Cypriot support for his initiatives, Tatar said that this saddened him and such behaviour was “unworthy of Turkish Cypriots.”
“It is a matter of honour for us that the state is strengthened,” he said referring to the ‘TRNC’ and charged that confidence building measures proposed by Christodoulides were “intrigues to achieve [Greek Cypriot] national goals.”
Tatar went on to reiterate that the only sustainable solution for Cyprus would be on the basis of separate states.
Christodoulides for his part, continued to hold steady on his position for a federal solution in statements made at a meeting with Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at the end of the day’s events.
“Despite the difficulties […] this effort will only end when the blessed hour of reunification arrives,” the president said.
He underscored the fact that a settlement stood to benefit all players and that existing support for a federal solution from the EU and the US was significant.
“We have started a new effort that aims to highlight the benefits for everyone, and for Cyprus of course-Turkey, Greece, the region, the EU, the USA,” he told attendees, adding that that “despite the challenges [and] disappointments […] we will do everything possible to achieve this goal.”
Greek Cypriot negotiator Menelaos Menelaou in the meantime on Wednesday met with UN Under Secretary-general for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, the ongoing efforts to revive the negotiation process was discussed in view of Christodoulides’ upcoming tete-a-tete with the UNSG on Friday.
DiCarlo reiterated the readiness for a meeting between the president and Tatar, under the auspices of the UNSG, as well as for the appointment of a UN envoy as a next step in preparing the ground for the resumption of talks.