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26 May, 2024
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Cyprus initiates diplomatic efforts for Cyprus talks

Greek-Turkish relations seek positive restart at NATO Summit

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

In a positive atmosphere, as reported by "K", the meetings of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Constantinos Kombos, took place in New York and at the headquarters of the United Nations, with the backdrop of Cyprus' efforts to restart Cyprus talks. The Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the entire UN leadership, with his meeting with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday evening (Cyprus time) standing out. "I had a particularly constructive meeting with the Secretary-General, during which our strong determination to return to negotiations from where they left off in Crans-Montana was emphasized, with the objective of substantive discussions that will lead to a solution to the Cyprus issue and the reunification of our island," Mr. Kombos stated after the meeting. This initiative by Nicosia aims not only to actively involve the European Union but also to take advantage of the current convergence between the EU-Turkey, US-Turkey, and Greece-Turkey relationships, as they emerged from the NATO Summit in Vilnius.

Before concluding his three-day visit to New York, Mr. Kombos met with all the Deputy Secretaries-General of the UN, discussing technical issues related to the UNFICYP mission in Cyprus. He also had diplomatic-level contacts with the Permanent Delegation of the United States and with Jeffrey Pyatt, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Energy. Furthermore, he engaged with various organizations.

At this level, Nicosia appears to pursue three objectives:

1. Signaling readiness to discuss the Cyprus issue again, without deviating from the Bizonal Bicommunal Federation.
2. Aiming to secure, after September and the UN General Assembly, the appointment of a Special Envoy by the Secretary-General to advance the process of restarting the negotiations.
3. Convincing the UN about its initiative for EU involvement in a political reconfiguration in the EU-Turkey domain, given Turkey's European path. This aspect, in principle, seems to be understood by the UN and the Secretary-General.

At this level, it becomes apparent that Mr. Guterres carefully listened to the positions of Nicosia, and his decision on how to proceed in the coming weeks will become clear, considering the intense diplomatic backstage at various levels and the overall dynamics in the relationship with Turkey under President Erdogan. However, the difficulty of Turkey's initial position regarding accepting the sovereign equality of Turkish Cypriots as a prerequisite for resuming dialogue on the Cyprus issue remains, as understood by "K."

As for the Greek-Turkish relations, following a period of strong tensions characterized by rhetoric, Aegean violations, and statements such as "Mitsotakis is done," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting for an hour during the NATO Summit, seeking a positive restart in Greek-Turkish relations. This meeting took place after 16 months on the sidelines of the NATO Summit, against the backdrop of a calm atmosphere following the earthquakes in Turkey last February. Although the Cyprus issue was not specifically mentioned in the meeting, as reported by "K," Athens seeks to maintain the momentum of good relations with Ankara while simultaneously assessing the intentions of President Erdogan. Going forward, Athens and Ankara will examine the potential for further involvement in dialogue through the Memorandum of Understanding, exploratory contacts, and convergence during the upcoming October meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council between Greece and Turkey in Thessaloniki. The two Foreign Ministers will coordinate the dialogue and report on progress, utilizing multiple channels of communication between the two countries.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  politics  |  Turkey  |  Europe

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