Government Spokesman Marios Pelekanos stated today that a proposal by Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, on a package of Confidence Building Measures (CBM) is mutually beneficial and promotes a positive climate for the resumption of Cyprus talks. However, he expressed regret over the rejection of the proposals by the Turkish Cypriot side.
When asked to make a statement regarding the Turkish Cypriot leader's response, Pelekanos said “we are deeply saddened by the response of the Turkish Cypriot leadership in which they categorically reject a proposal by the President of the Republic for substantial CBMs.”
President Anastasiades conveyed his proposal on Confidence Building Measures through a letter to the Turkish Cypriot leader and the UN last May which included provisions for the UN operation of the airport located in Turkish-occupied Tymbou and the return of legal residents to Varosha, the fenced-off part of Famagusta.
The proposed package of measures also provided for the involvement of the European Commission in trade through Famagusta port, while ensuring Ankara's implementation of the Additional Protocol which will allow Cypriot-flagged vessels to access ports in Turkey. Moreover, the proposal also included the setup of an escrow account for revenues from hydrocarbon activities which could be accessed by the Turkish Cypriot community, provided that Cyprus and Turkey delineate their exclusive economic zones.
The proposal, Pelekanos goes on, “is mutually beneficial for both communities and is aimed at creating a positive climate, leading to the resumption of a creative dialogue for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.”
The rejection is merely indicative of the intransigence of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side, the Spokesman said and noted that this only contributes to the detriment of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and undermines efforts for a peaceful resolution to the Cyprus problem.
Moreover, he said that it brings to light the true objectives of Turkey and of those who, instead of serving Turkish Cypriot interests, resonate with Ankara’s mission, Pelekanos added.
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. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.