Cyprus: Borrell confirms EU support for efforts to resolve Cyprus issue

Cyprus: Borrell confirms EU support for efforts to resolve Cyprus issue

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell kicked off his visit to Cyprus from the Green Line.

The European Officer visited the headquarters of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force and posted on Twitter:

“Started my mission to Cyprus with debrief by the United Nations delegation in Cyprus. The UN work on the ground is essential for confidence building. Upcoming UN informal 5+1 talks provide an opportunity towards an urgently needed resumption of talks. The EU is strongly committed to support these efforts.”

Borrell was then received by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades with whom he had a private meeting of more than half an hour. The developments in the Cyprus issue and the prospects in view of the informal 5+1 meeting in Geneva were discussed at the meeting. This was followed by extended talks between the two sides, which were also attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Agriculture Costas Kadis, Government Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios and other officials.

During the meeting, an exchange of views was held on the developments in the Cyprus issue and the prospects in view of the informal five-party meeting, as well as on the forthcoming European Council, during which the Euro-Turkish issues are expected to be discussed.

Nicos Anastasiadis had the opportunity to refer to his acceptance of the invitation to the informal meeting addressed to him by the Secretary General. He reiterated his readiness to participate with a sincere political will with the aim of rendering it possible to resume the negotiation process as soon as possible. He also stressed that the resumption of talks should be based on the existing workload and the Berlin Joint Declaration of 25 November 2019, while it should be within the parameters of UN decisions and resolutions and in line with the principles and values ​​of the European Union.

For his part, Josep Borrell reiterated the EU’s readiness to be represented in the new process and, more generally, to actively assist in the effort to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the Cyprus issue, which should be within the framework set by the UN and is in line with the UNSC resolutions on Cyprus, as well as the founding values ​​and the EU acquis.

Regarding Euro-Turkish issues, President Anastasiades stressed that what is expected from Turkey, if it wants to be given any positive agenda, is to show a practical and sincere will to improve its relations with the EU and all independent member-states, which extents inter alia to its stance on the Cyprus issue. In addition, any de-escalation of tensions caused by Turkey should last, including its illegal actions, both in relation to the fenced city of Famagusta and within the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone.

Furthermore, Nicos Anastasiades particularly highlighted immigration, one of the issues to be raised at the European Council this month, recalling the problems that emerged in Cyprus by the refugee flows  from Turkey, something for which solutions must be found at EU level as well.

Referring to the same issue, Josep Borrell said that the March European Council will be an opportunity for EU leaders to assess Euro-Turkish relations and that de-escalation, as well as progress on issues such as the Cyprus issue, are key to developing a mutual beneficial Euro-Turkish relationship on the basis of values.

On his Twitter account, Josep Borrell wrote about his meeting with the Cypriot President, “Very good discussion with President Anastasiades on the Cyprus settlement. Engaging in the UN 5+1 talks is essential, for the benefit of all Cypriots, the region and the EU. There is a real opportunity that needs to be seized.”

Afterwards followed a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Christodoulides with whom, according to Josep Borrell, a good meeting took place during which the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean was reviewed. The COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines were also discussed. Cyprus settlement question is an EU problem, Borrell continued, adding that it impacts regional stability and prosperity.

Josep Borrell then met with Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

According to the High Representative, the importance of reaching an agreement on the settlement negotiations and the resumption of the UN process, in accordance with the defined parameters, was underlined. “EU ready to provide full support to the benefit of all Cypriots,” Borrell said on Twitter. /ibna