Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades highlighted, during a meeting he had on Friday with the UNSG’s Special Representative and Chief of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Elizabeth Spehar, the problems created due to Turkey’s illegal actions at sea against the Republic of Cyprus, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou has said.
In statements to the media after the meeting, that took place in view of the discussion before the UN Security Council, in July, on the UNSG’s report about the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, Prodromou noted that the President also underlined the need for the UN peacekeeping force to be present in Cyprus “particularly when there are provocations by Turkey" and expressed the belief that UNFICYP’s mandate will be renewed, with the UN`s contribution to this end.
As regards prospects for the resumption of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem, Prodromou underlined that President Anastasiades has expressed his readiness to the UN ,while on the other hand, Turkey has been following delaying tactics on this issue.
On her part, Spehar said in statements to the media that she had a very good meeting with Anastasiades. “We covered a number of issues in light of the upcoming Council session in July (for UNFICYP). So all well. It was a constructive meeting and I look forward to continuing the dialogue with Mr Anastasiades.”
In his statements, Prodromou said that as regards the Confidence Building Measures, the President noted during his meeting with Spehar that he had no reply up until now by the Turkish Cypriot side as regards a list of 21 measures which he submitted some time ago.
Responding to a question about the issue of UNFICYP, Prodromou said that there are some proposals to review UN peacekeeping forces worldwide and not only in Cyprus. However, he added, with regard to Cyprus there is currently an initiative undertaken by the UN Secretary General which is underway aiming at the resumption of the negotiations.
We believe and we underline that as long as the Turkish occupation of the island continues and there are incidents as the recent ones, concerning the ceasefire line and the provocations of Turkey against the Republic of Cyprus, it is indispensable that UNFICYP remains on the island, where it is playing a stabilizing role, Prodromou added.
Ankara has issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. The Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
Replying to another question, Prodromou said that energy issues have never been part of the discussions on the Cyprus problem and can never be.
He reiterated that the President underlined to Spehar the problems created by Turkey’s illegal actions which are contrary to the international law and violate the UN Law of the Sea Convention.
Asked if Spehar conveyed anything new about the efforts for the resumption of the negotiations and to formulate the terms of reference, Prodromou recalled that it is the UNSG’s Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute which has been making efforts for the resumption of the negotiations.
He also noted that President Anastasiades reiterated his readiness during a meeting he had recently in Beijing with the UNSG, discussing with him some alternative ways that could help move forward, as a meeting between him and the Turkish Cypriot leader in Lute’s presence, or – if the UN decide that this would be useful –a meeting as the one in Crans Montana, hat would take however place unofficially, with a view to facilitate the resumption of the talks.
Asked if Lute has informed them that she intends to return to Cyprus soon, Prodromou replied negatively, adding that there is no news about that.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively.
Comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, UNFICYP arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out. The mandate of the force is renewed every six months by the UN Security Council.