Cyprus: Cautious optimistism about the informal five-party meeting

Cyprus: Cautious optimistism about the informal five-party meeting

Nicosia says it remains cautiously optimistic in view of the informal conference on the Cyprus issue, while conveying the message that Cyprus will not be accepting a change of basis and form in the solution of the Cyprus issue, as well as arbitrations and suffocating schedules. A new meeting of the legal group set up in preparation for the informal conference will take place on Monday.

Following the statement of the representative of the UN Secretary General that Antonio Guterres intends to convene an informal 5+1 meeting on the Cyprus issue very soon, Government Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios stated that a formal announcement from the United Nations on this issue is expected in due time, most likely some time next week.

“At this stage, there is nothing more we can say. Just wait for the official announcement from the United Nations,” said Kyriakos Kousios.

Asked about Nicosia’s preparations for the informal conference, the Government Spokesman stressed that “preparations for the informal five-party meeting have been under way for some time. “It is known that a group of legal experts on constitutional law and other similar specialties has been set up, which has already met in several sessions,” he explained.

He added that “the members of this group have studied various issues they have faced, and the discussion of the results of their work has already begun. The group will meet again on Monday to discuss specific legal issues concerning the substance of the Cyprus issue and the informal five-party meeting,” he said.

At the same time, he noted that the President of the Republic has met with the negotiating team “and intends to utilize all members of the negotiating team, especially in their specialty areas, while he will also employ expert constitutional lawyers.”

Asked to comment on statements by Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar that he would put the two-state solution model on the table, the government spokesman replied: “We support a solution based on the resolutions and decisions of the United Nations and the Security Council.”

He recalled that “only recently in the process of renewing the term of UNFICYP, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2561 which confirmed Resolution 1251 regarding the solution of the Cyprus issue. And it is clear that R1251 determines the basis for the solution of the Cyprus issue,” he underlined.

Kyriakos Kousios also said that “the Secretary-General of the United Nations has and derives the terms of his mandate from the  United Nations Security Council resolutions.”

He added that “since the resolutions of the Security Council determine the form and basis for the solution of the Cyprus issue, we expect that the Secretary General will act within the terms of his mandate, without implying that he should not take any initiatives to overcome the impasse in the event of a situation that does not allow for further negotiations, in the same way that he took some initiatives in Crans Montana by recording the six points in his document.”

“Our positions remain unchanged and we will head to the conference with clear positions,” he said, noting that the form of solution must be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, as set out in the Security Council resolutions.

At the same time, he added that the solution must be compatible with the principles and values ​​of the European Union, of which Cyprus is and will continue to be a member.

He added that it is no coincidence that the European Union has repeatedly stated it will be present in the negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus issue through a special envoy, while at the same time it will attend the informal five-party meeting as an observer.

Kyriakos Kousios cautioned that one should not forget that the convergences achieved through dialogue, as one should recall the November 25, 2019 Joint Declaration in Berlin during the meeting of the UN Secretary General with President Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader at-the-time Mustafa Akinci, but also the February 2014 Joint Statement of President Anastasiades and  Turkish Cypriot leader at-the-time Dervis Eroglu.

Regarding the statements of Ersin Tatar, Kyriakos Kousios said that there have been similar statements from the Turkish Cypriot side in the past. “Let me remind you when Rauf Denktas was the leader of the Turkish-Cypriots and when Mr. Eroglu was the Turkish Cypriot leader. Did not have more or less the same treatment back then?” he replied.

Let’s hope, he added, “that we will head to the informal five-party meeting to determine the exact positions of the two sides. We are prepared for all possible contingencies. There is cautious optimism that the informal meeting will yield some results in order to encourage the UN Secretary General to take the next crucial step, which is to negotiate a solution to the Cyprus issue; a solution that must be fair, functional and therefore sustainable and free from anachronistic guarantees or the presence of foreign troops,” he underlined.

To another question, Kyriakos Kousios replied that the role of the UN Secretary General will not be arbitrary, noting that the Cyprus issue “is a matter that concerns Cyprus itself; it is Cypriot property. We can accept neither arbitrations nor suffocating schedules,” he stressed.

He added that “what we hope is that with the positions that will be submitted, the Secretary General will be able to help the through his interventions to move one step further.”

“Our position is clear; the change of base and form of solution of the Cyprus problem is not acceptable”, Kyriakos Kousios concluded. /ibna