by Yiannis Ioannou
Christodoulides attempted to lay out his vision for active EU engagement on the issue of breaking the six-year deadlock in Cyprus talks on the first day of his first European Council summit as President. Both in the Council's margins and over lunch with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the President spoke at length about his plan to appoint a political figure who could help restart the talks. The idea was met with enthusiasm by the leadership of the three European institutions (Commission, Council, and Parliament), with whom the President had the opportunity to meet during his preparations for the Council's work, as well as by the organized support of the European People's Party (EPP) - with Manfred Weber's long-standing support for Nicosia, who met with the President during the work of the European Parliament's relevant group.
A warm welcome to the new President of Cyprus @Christodulides to his first #EPPSummit! Looking forward to working close together to tackle the challenges ahead of us. I wish you every success in your new role. pic.twitter.com/y7PeXiPBCN— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) March 23, 2023
Photo and handshake with SG
The President of the Republic had the opportunity to shake hands and pose for a photo with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is in Brussels for the Council's work on "hot potatoes" such as Ukraine and the refugee-migration issue, with an emphasis on its Ukrainian dimension.
During the Council, he elaborated extensively on his proposal for European mediation before the "26" leaders of the EU states, while discussions with French President Macron and German Chancellor Solts - both of whom will extend an official invitation to the President for a visit to Paris and Berlin in due course - are critical for the continuation of the talks, a development linked to the success of the proposal for EU mediation on the Cyprus issue (and which well-informed diplomatic circles describe in the K newspaper as a catalyst for the support of the Franco-German axis in Nicosia's pursuit). The UN Secretary-General did not manage to talk to the President on the sidelines of the summit - as K reported.
When asked by the Cyprus News Agency to comment on his arrival, whether his proposal for European mediation concerns a political personality or the participation of a technocrat in the process, the President of the Republic referred to his qualitative characteristics, describing a political personality with authority who, at this stage, could break the deadlock - given his presence in Crans Montana.
Converging reports in "K" suggest that Nicosia has in mind a pool of known EU prestige figures to propose -in due course, as we wrote yesterday, given the important elections in Turkey on May 14, but also given a UN initiative to appoint a special envoy of the Secretary-General, given that the Turkish Cypriot side rejects -via Tatar- the idea of European mediation.
"At this point, the main issue is to break the impasse." The deadlock can be broken through the European Union's leading role, with a personality assuming this role," the President of the Republic of Cyprus told CNA.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]