UN intervention helps restart Cyprus peace talks
NICOSIA - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS photoGreek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on May 27 that he would resume peace talks with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı following an intervention by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.
Anastasiades cancelled peace talks with Akıncı that were due to take place on May 27 over what he saw as an attempt to officially recognize the Turkish Cypriot administration.
The move came after he did not attend a state dinner at an U.N.-organized humanitarian summit in Istanbul on May 23 on discovering that Akıncı was also invited.
While in Turkey, Akıncı also met the U.N. secretary general on the sidelines of the summit.
Nicosia blamed the U.N. for “making a mess” of things by getting involved in a deeply sensitive diplomatic game.
In a move to get the peace talks back on track Ban phoned Anastasiades on May 27 to clear the air.
“With reference to recent events in Istanbul, the secretary general reiterated that the U.N.’s policy on Cyprus has not changed,” said a U.N. statement.
“The secretary general encourages the two leaders to intensify their efforts towards reunifying Cyprus, in a climate of mutual respect, in order to bring an end to the unacceptable status quo,” it added.
After the Greek Cypriot administration announced the calling off of the May 27 meeting, Akıncı invited his counterpart to reason and back to the negotiations table.
The Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened into the north following a coup aiming at unification with Greece.
It was the first serious hitch in U.N.-brokered peace talks that resumed a year ago and came despite both leaders saying in a May 15 joint statement that they remain as committed as ever to reunifying the Mediterranean island in 2016.
Following reassurances from the UN chief, Anastasiades said he was ready to intensify efforts for a Cyprus solution.
“Friday’s [May 27] announcement of the United Nations answers are given to all those that sought in Istanbul to project and to promote a false picture about the upgrading of the illegal regime,” said government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides.
He said that Anastasiades “expresses his readiness for the continuation and intensification of the dialogue, provided that there will be mutual respect...also provided there will be no similar phenomena by anybody involved in the process.”