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13 June, 2024
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The effort continues despite the difficulties

Our focus is not on the blame game, but on the substance


In an exclusive interview with Cyprus problem negotiator Menelaos Menelao, journalist Andreas Kimitris delves into the complexities of the ongoing negotiations, posing tough questions about the current state of affairs and the challenges ahead.  Here are the major points:

1. Current Situation: Menelao asserts that the negotiation efforts are ongoing and not at a deadlock, despite challenges posed by the Turkish Cypriot side. The aim remains to resume negotiations from the point they left off at Crans-Montana, following the framework set by UN Security Council resolutions.

2. Turkish Position: The Turkish side is accused of deviating from the agreed framework, particularly concerning political equality. Their reluctance to engage meaningfully has been an anticipated obstacle.

3. International Community's Role: Menelao emphasizes the clear message from the international community, including the UN and EU, supporting the existing framework for a federal solution. He stresses the importance of Euro-Turkish relations as a potential catalyst for progress.

4. UN's Involvement: Mrs. Holguin Cuellar's mission is ongoing, with a focus on creating conditions for positive developments rather than attributing blame. The Secretary-General's aim is to facilitate a more substantive effort toward negotiations.

5. Challenges and Initiatives: The Greek Cypriot side continues to show readiness and take initiatives to find mutually acceptable solutions. They stress the necessity of dialogue and concrete steps to overcome the Turkish side’s rigid stance.

6. Future Steps: Upcoming efforts include potential trilateral meetings and conferences with guarantor powers. The Greek Cypriot side is prepared to work constructively within these frameworks to achieve substantial results.

7. Public and Civil Society's Role: There is acknowledgment of the desire among ordinary Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for positive developments and reunification, which both sides share and aspire to meet.

8. Regional Context: Menelao underscores the importance of considering broader regional and international dynamics, particularly in light of increasing tensions and potential shifts in the international system.

9. Diplomatic Efforts: Meetings between Greek and Turkish leaders highlight the need for tangible political will from Turkey to make positive steps on the Cyprus issue. There is a recognition of Turkey's decisive role and the influence of voices within the Turkish Cypriot community advocating different approaches.

10. Reporting and Accountability: While the focus is not on blaming, there is an emphasis on the objective reporting of facts. The next steps will become clearer after upcoming reports from the UN Secretary-General to the Security Council in early July.

Menelao's remarks reflect a commitment to continuing negotiations within the established framework and highlight the complexities and international dimensions of the Cyprus problem.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for brevity and clarity]

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  cyprob

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