Diplomatic traffic on Cyprus intensifying

Diplomatic traffic on Cyprus intensifying

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Diplomatic traffic on Cyprus intensifying

FM Davutoğlu (L), as well as Turkish Cyprus, is eager to push UN Envoy for Cyprus Alexander Downer to speed up negotiations on the island’s future. AA Photo

Turkey and Turkish Cyprus are urging the United Nations to resume talks for the reunification of Cyprus, but the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for Cyprus favors waiting until Greek Cyprus’ economic crisis eases and its domestic politics settle down, according to officials in Ankara.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met with U.N. envoy Alexander Downer yesterday and repeated the Turkish side’s demand for the United Nations to launch reunification talks on the island “as soon as possible,” Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Downer, however, has sided with the Greek Cypriots on the issue of delaying negotiations until the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, has politically strengthened his hand, according to Turkish Cypriot sources, referring to a recent visit by Downer to Turkish Cyprus on April 24.

Therefore, no new round of talks is expected before the end of 2013, sources said, noting that Anastasiades had yet to even appoint an envoy for negotiations.

On the contrary, Turkish Cypriots argue that the Greek Cypriot leader would be able to send a positive message to his people with an early resumption of talks.

Anastasiades had supported an earlier peace plan in 2004 that was known by the name of then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Downer will travel to Greece and Cyprus following his talks in Ankara.

Turkey is ready to negotiate a two-state solution to the Cyprus problem if reunification talks between the two sides fail and no agreement is reached over the establishment of a joint commission on gas resources on the island, Davutoğlu said in March.

He also criticized the Greek Cypriot plan to use oil and gas exploration rights around the eastern Mediterranean island as collateral for an international bailout package that it desperately needs to protect its economy from going bankrupt.