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Foreign Minister Expects Informal Conference On Cyprus To Take Place At The End Of December or January

Foreign Minister Expects Informal Conference On Cyprus To Take Place At The End Of December or January

Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides expressed on Monday concern about the risk of Turkey annexing the occupied areas of Cyprus in case no solution is found by 2023, the year Ankara marks the anniversary for the centennial since the founding of modern Turkey. He also expressed the view that an unofficial five-party conference under the aegis of the UN for the reunification of Cyprus could take place end of December or in January.


 
“Unfortunately, the occupied areas [of Cyprus], areas in northern Syria, areas in northern Iraq are all potential targets for Mr. Erdogan and this is something that should trouble us and of course we are concerned” Christodoulides told the House Financial and Budgetary Affairs Committee while presenting the 2021 budget for the Foreign Ministry.


 
Referring to efforts to resume talks for a Cyprus settlement, the Foreign Minister said that according to the information available, UN special envoy, Jane Holl Lute, is expected to visit Cyprus at the end of November, in an effort to bring everyone on board for convening an informal five-party conference either, at the end of December or in January, in order to announce the start of substantive negotiations. “The real effort started last week after the contacts of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor, Jane Holl Lute, with the three guarantor powers, and is expected to reach its peak by the end of November or early December” Christodoulides told MPs.

 

He also said that he spoke on Sunday evening with EU High Representative Josep Borrell, who is likely to pay a visit to Cyprus and Greece before the European Council, scheduled for December 10-11. The Foreign Minister said that a Cyprus solution continues to be the number one priority and that “we focus our attention on resuming negotiations from the point they were left off at Crans Montana, with our only goal being a settlement on the basis of the agreed framework for a bizonal bicommunal federation.”

 

 
Unprecedented provocations by Turkey throughout the area and in Cyprus continue, and according to the international community`s appraisal, this is due to President Erdogan’s neo-ottoman approach, in light of modern Turkey’s 100-year anniversary and its effort to lead the Muslim world, as well as due to financial hardships the country is faced with in the interior, the Minister went on. In this framework, provocations against Cyprus, both in land and at sea, are heightened, Christodoulides said. Apart from our readiness to resume talks, our reaction focuses on using all means available to the Foreign Ministry, particularly in the EU, despite inherent weaknesses due to member-states’ interests with Turkey, the Minister added.

 

He pointed, moreover, to the importance of decisions of the European Council, on December 10 and 11, when member states are expected to take stock of Turkey’s behaviour and decide about the whole spectrum of EU-Turkey relations. “No one can tell how partners in the EU are expected to act” he added. Speaking about developments in Varosha, the fenced part of Famagusta, and the illegal visit of Turkey’s President there, last weekend, the Foreign Minister said that there have been interventions by the EU, UN Security Council permanent members and the UN Secretary-General himself, who “spoke with Turkey in order for this visit not to take place.”

 

As for the election of Joe Biden in the United States, Christodoulides said that the President-elect has a different approach from his predecessor, but “at the end of the day, Biden, as well as any other US President is expected to work in order to promote US interests in the best possible way.” “I don’t think that there is going to be a special policy on Cyprus. I think that the approach in relation to Cyprus will be part of the political approach in the broader region,” the Minister added. He also referred to the trilateral cooperation mechanisms, Cyprus and Greece are promoting together with other countries from the region, and said that he hoped that the secretariat that will coordinate them, based in Cyprus, will be up and running within 2021.

 

The Foreign Ministry’s budget for 2021 amounts to €100,978,943. Of these, €88,828,823 concerns regular expenditure and €12,150,120 are earmarked for development. The Republic of Cyprus maintains 53 diplomatic missions abroad. 43 of them are Embassies, 4 are permanent missions to international organisations and there are also 6 consulates-general.

 

Source: CNA

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