UN calls to restart negotiations, find solution for Cyprus

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ANKARA
Published 01.02.2019 00:14

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) called on Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Wednesday to agree on terms to restart negotiations aimed at resolving the knotted Cyprus issue and reunifying the divided island "within a foreseeable horizon."

According to a resolution approved unanimously by the UNSC, regret at the lack of progress toward a Cyprus settlement was conveyed, urging both sides "to seize the important opportunity" of consultations with the U.N special envoy on Cyprus talks, Jane Holl Lute, to find a way forward.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K. collapsing in 2017.

In his latest report published this month, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also reiterated he has confidence that "prospects remain alive for a comprehensive settlement within a foreseeable horizon."

While Wednesday's resolution had the same tune, it called on Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades "to actively and meaningfully engage with openness and creativity, to fully commit to a settlement process under U.N. auspices, to use the U.N. consultations to restart negotiations and to avoid any actions that might damage the chances of success."

The U.N. has sought a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe's relations with Turkey, a key player in the issue.

The Turkish side has always been a supportive actor of U.N.-led negotiations to find a just and viable settlement to the Cyprus issue. However, the peace talks on the ethnically divided island have yielded no results so far. Turkey has been blaming Greek Cypriot intransigence for the failure of the talks, with rejections of several agreements and proposals in 1986, 1992 and 2014.

The resolution extends the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate, which was implemented in 1964 to avert conflict between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, for another six months.

Regarding the UNSC resolution on the extension of the mandate of the UNFICYP, the Turkish Foreign Ministry emphasized the lack of the consent of the authorities of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), adding that the resolution does not contribute to the efforts toward a solution of the Cyprus problem.

"In this respect, this resolution does not make a real contribution to the efforts toward the settlement of the Cyprus issue. Furthermore, it is not compatible with the above-mentioned reports of the U.N. Secretary-General," the statement noted.

The ministry also pointed out the importance of adopting a process that could be fruitful for current relations and the political equality of the two sides in the upcoming period.

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı also said yesterday that they are ready to have talks on a new model that would strengthen the authorities of both states as long as it is based on political equality.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the 5th Southern European Union Summit (SEUS) was held in Southern Cyprus with the participation of France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration to address the regional problems and reshape the future of Europe.

Issuing a press statement on the issue, the Foreign Ministry described the outputs of the summit as an example of the "unfair and unconstructive attitudes" adopted by several EU members in the name of "union solidarity."

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