Secretary General of the United Nations (UN SG) Antonio Guterres has proposed a joint meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, in New York, after the 74th session of the UN General Assembly that will take place in September, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Thursday.
During a telephone conversation between the UN SG and President Anastasiades, Guterres wished him a "speedy recovery" and underlined that he looks forward to a meeting between the two leaders on 9 August, Prodromou told the press after the Cabinet’s meeting in Limassol, where the Cypriot President has been recuperating from surgery.
According to the Spokesman, the Secretary General reiterated his commitment to the prospect of resumption of talks for the settlement of the Cyprus problem, telling the President that a joint meeting of himself with Anastasiades and Akinci could take place in September in New York, after the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
Prodromou said that on 9 August the two leaders will have an informal meeting to exchange views freely and discuss all those matters that have been described as “terms of reference” by the United Nations in order to pave the way for the resumption of the talks from the point they stopped in Crans- Montana two years ago.
He noted that the President will go to the meeting hoping that together with the Turkish Cypriot leader they will manage to address all the disagreements on issues that have been raised and move on to substantial talks.
He also said that the SG justifiably seeks proper preparation of the talks, just like the Greek Cypriot side has been doing following the bad experience of Crans - Montana, where the Turkish side was reluctant to discuss the issue of security.
“It is only through substantial talks that we will be able to obstruct or bypass the actions of the Turkish side”, Prodromou said.
Asked whether the Cyprus talks could restart while Turkish provocations continue, the Spokesman said that “at the moment we are waiting to see what will happen on 9 August, hoping that the President with Akinci will be able to decide in such a way that we will have a follow up with the SG, and with (Jane Holl) Lute if necessary, in any way the UN deems conducive”.
The SG expects that the two sides, including Turkey, will contribute to establishing the proper climate for the resumption of the talks, he added.
Invited to comment on “deputy prime minister” and “minister of foreign affairs” Kudret Özersay’s announcement about the commencement of an “inventory” on the state of buildings in the closed off town of Varosha, in the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus, Prodromou spoke of a clear violation of UN decisions and said that such actions contradict the SG’s position.
“We hope that the entire Turkish side will respond to the President’s call for substantial talks”, he noted.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.