Christodoulides: Guterres to discuss Cyprus issue in Turkey

11 February 2017
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Government spokesperson Nikos Christodoulides has described the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Turkey as important, in statements on Friday.

He noted that Guterres’ visit is taking place in the framework of the UN Secretary General’s will to play an active in the process for a Cyprus settlement.

In statements to the press, Christodoulides noted that certainly the Cyprus problem will be among the two issues that will prevail during Guterres’ discussions in Ankara, adding that the Cypriot government is in constant contact with the UN Secretariat and the UN Secretary General himself. “We are hopeful that his meetings (in Turkey) will produce results which will allow us to be optimistic about the continuation of the process,” he added.

Invited to say if he believes that Turkey will be more flexible in its positions after the country’s referendum in April, Christodoulides said that there are assessments according to which no move should be expected from Turkey before the referendum on the constitutional amendments in the country, while on the other hand assurances have been given from Turkish officials and are being conveyed by the UNSG’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide that the referendum does not influence developments in the Cyprus problem.

In April, Turkey will be holding a referendum on constitutional reforms that are expected to give more powers to the presidency, which is currently held by Tayyip Erdogan.

Christodoulides said the government cannot address the Cyprus talks based on assessments and added that everything will be judged at the negotiating table.

Responding to a question, Christodoulides said that during the meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Thursday, in the framework of the UN-led talks on the Cyprus problem, Akinci put forward the issue of the four fundamental freedoms, Turkey is seeking access to in connection to the Cyprus problem, but President Anastasiades refused to discuss it.

As regards the next session of the Conference on Cyprus, the spokesperson said that a date has not been set yet, adding that it will certainly not take place before March 13.

The first round of Conference on Cyprus convened, on January 12, in Geneva, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, with the participation of Anastasiades and Akinci, the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer, to address the issue of security and guarantees, a crucial chapter in discussions for a Cyprus settlement.

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