Cyprus: Need to Break Current Deadlock with Support of International Institutions

2023/02/07 | Note, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - Opinion: The recent report of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the peacekeeping forces in Cyprus emphasizes lack of common ground between the two sides for peace talks to reach a common solution which has followed concerns among the Cypriot authorities as well as Greek parties. The Greek Cypriot side does not seem satisfied with the UN Secretary General’s reports as an official document of the UN Security Council published on January 13, because such reports are close to the “two societies” policy and include subjective and non-objective views. According to Nicosia, the correct report should ask all parties to adhere to a common solution to the Cyprus issue, which is the formation of a common bi-regional federation and political equality. Mahmoud Fazeli - International affairs analyst

The Secretary General’s report states that the United Nations should consider the goal of allowing the legal residents of that region to return in complete safety and as soon as possible. The natural resources of the island should be available to both. Natural resources should provide a strong incentive for the parties in order to seek acceptable and sustainable solutions to issues related to natural resources and energy cooperation projects in the region.

The Cypriot parties have expressed their concern over the UN Secretary General’s reports on the Cyprus issue and consider it very worrying. The opposition party “AKEL” considers the recent reports of the United Nations as ‘the worst reports of all time’ and warns that ‘the contents of both reports show the increasing reluctance of the international community to efforts to solve the Cyprus problem. The issue of Cyprus is at its worst and most dangerous stage since 1974, and the UN Security Council sees no hope of taking initiatives’.

Averof Neofytou, the leader of the “DISY” Party and the candidate for the presidential election of the Greek part (February 5, 2023), who considers the recent reports worrying, believes that the next president of Cyprus will be responsible for any possible negotiations in accordance with the framework of the UN Secretary General, and the mission is to break the current impasse with the support of international authorities. ‘This will be done by mobilizing forces, by presenting initiatives, by putting viable proposals on the table to break the deadlock of the Cyprus issue and reunify the country’.

The “DIKO” Party of Cyprus also emphasizes that the UN Security Council insists on blaming both sides of Cyprus for the lack of progress in the Cyprus peace talks. It is unthinkable to blame the Greek side, because the Turkish side is the main culprit for deviating from the framework of the agreement, creating tension on the buffer line and violating UN resolutions.

The Cypriot side has concerns while the representatives of France, Britain and China, members of the UN Security Council, announced in a closed meeting that the appointment of a special envoy for the Cyprus issue paves the way for negotiations between the two sides. Those countries hold the idea that Turkey ignored the recent requests of the Council regarding its measures, which are completely contrary to the existing resolutions of the United Nations, and they emphasized the need to commit to the scenario of forming a two-regional federation. It is expected that according to the resolution of January 17, Turkey will inform the Security Council to extend the mission of the UN peacekeeping forces in Cyprus.

From the point of view of Colin Stewart, the UN special representative in Cyprus, the appointment of the UN envoy to Cyprus can be a “vital support” in the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem. He urges the parties involved to refrain from unilateral actions that may increase tensions in Cyprus as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean region. According to him, the position of the United Nations is to comply with the resolutions of the United Nations, especially resolutions 550 and 789.

In recent weeks, all-out attacks of Turkish authorities on Greece and Greek Cyprus continued. Turkey believes that Ankara has legitimate rights and interests arising from international law in the maritime areas of the Eastern Mediterranean. In order to protect the rights of that country as well as the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean, decisive positions have been taken. Turkey has repeatedly criticized Greece and accuses the country of being inflexible on the Cyprus issue.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has repeatedly threatened that he will never back down from securing and protecting Turkey’s rights and interests in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and Northern Turkish Cyprus, and will prevent the trampling of his national rights and interests and that of the Turkish Cypriots. Ankara will not take “even one step back” to protect its rights and interests in the Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus.

According to Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu, the lifting of sanctions on Cyprus shows that the United States has lost its balanced policy in the issues related to the Greek-Cyprus conflict, and the sending of the US weapons to Athens is a clear indication of this, and Turkish Cyprus is still under international sanctions. Turkey supports the “two-state solution” together with the Turkic part.

From Greece’s point of view, ending Turkey’s occupation and settlements in Cyprus and finding an acceptable, just and sustainable solution to the issue of this island based on the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council is the stable goal of that country’s foreign policy. From the point of view of Greek Cypriots, the remarks of the leader of the Turkish Cypriots regarding the request to “divide Cyprus into two separate states” not only was not strongly condemned, but was also used as a basis for highlighting the need for negotiations.

In a conflict that has a historical legacy of conflict behind it and both sides do not have the necessary will to compromise within the framework of securing their legitimate rights and respecting the rights of the other, no positive signs can be seen from either side. On both sides, there are leaders who do not show the will and at least the desire to find a political solution to end a historical crisis and stalemate. In any negotiation, a satisfactory solution must be agreed upon by the parties, which will fundamentally change all the systemic and executive arrangements in both the Greek and Turkish sectors, and this result will not be easily achieved.

The discussion over power sharing, due to the imbalance in the population of Cyprus, where two-thirds are of Greek origin and one-third are of Turkish origin, is negotiated in the power pyramid with a degree of prioritization which, under any circumstances, does not guarantee a partnership system with two equal partners. The big difference that has hindered any progress in peace talks and national reconciliation in Cyprus is related to the security issues of the island and has involved the two countries of Greece and Turkey to this dispute.

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