President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Colin Stewart discussed today the need to build trust among people as a foundation for finding some way to move forward on the political process with regard to the Cyprus problem.
The President met with Stewart at the Presidential Palace, prior to the UN official’s trip to New York, to renew the UN peacekeeping force's mandate in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
"When the time came there was unhesitating and unquestioned assistance from Greek Cypriots for Turkish Cypriots, who were in this difficult situation and I think this is a very positive thing”
In statements after the meeting, Stewart said that they had a very good meeting, and thanked the President for the support of the Greek Cypriots to extinguish the terrible fire that was raging in the northern part of Cyprus for a few days last week.
“The UN of course stands in solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots over this disaster. It illustrates a fundamental point about this island and that is the solidarity amongst Cypriots. When the time came there was unhesitating and unquestioned assistance from Greek Cypriots for Turkish Cypriots, who were in this difficult situation and I think this is a very positive thing”, he said.
Stewart went on to say that they discussed the need to build trust between the people as a foundation for finding some way to move forward on the political process and “we can see and we discussed how trust is at a low point and things seem to be going in the wrong direction and therefore the need for doing whatever we can to rebuild that trust, without which it will be very difficult to move forward on the political process”.
Asked if the Turkish provocations in Varosha will be included in the report of the UN Secretary-General, Stewart said: "Absolutely, every development on the ground is carefully detailed in the SG’s reports and obviously it is up to the Security Council to decide how to react, but that is one of our jobs, to report objectively and in detail on all the developments that happen on the ground in last six months".
Replying to another question, Stewart said that one of the fundamental problems, and President Anastasiades agreed on this, is the general lack of trust on both sides and this is something we agreed to focus our efforts on otherwise is going to be difficult to find a path forward for a political settlement”.
In a written statement about the meeting, Government Spokesman, Marios Pelekanos, said that the meeting took place in view of the preparation of the annual reports for the renewal of the UNFICYP mandate.
"During the meeting, the President of the Republic expressed the firm positions of the Greek Cypriot side and expressed his regret over the rejection of his proposals for the adoption of confidence-building measures that would create a conducive atmosphere for the resumption of negotiations," he said.
The spokesperson finally noted that the President stressed his strong concern over the new status that Turkey is seeking to promote, but also about the unacceptable rhetoric developed by the Turkish government and those who represent it in the Turkish Cypriot community.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results.