The United Nations Security Council held consultations on Cyprus on Thursday behind closed doors, where members were briefed on the latest developments and urged leaders to be productive in the period ahead.
According to a statement to the press by Jonathan Allen, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN, member states welcomed the initiative taken by Secretary General Antonio Guterres to meet informally with the two Cypriot leaders on Monday.
Allen, acting as President of the Security Council for the month of November, said Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed UNSC members on the latest developments on Cyprus and the UNSG’s report published last week.
It was also reported by some media that rising tensions over gas exploration and drilling around Cyprus were expected to be brought up during the closed session, but no official statements were made on the issue.
Turkey deployed a number of ships in the area over recent months, prompting the Republic of Cyprus to protest by stating that the drilling activities were within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and therefore illegal.
Last week, High Representative Federica Mogherini expressed the EU’s full solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus, as the Union moved to condemn Turkey’s actions and further agreed on a framework for sanctions against entities and individuals involved Turkey’s drilling activities.
“The objective here is to change the attitude, stop the drillings,” Mogherini said.
Turkey says its exploration activities are conducted in the area of its continental shelf, arguing they are legitimate while also maintaining that the guarantor country is also protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots who are entitled to receive benefits from the hydrocarbon resources.
Rising tensions over gas exploration and drilling around Cyprus were expected to be brought up during the closed session, but no official statements were made on the issue
Following Allen’s statements, he was asked by reporters about the United Kingdom’s role as a guarantor power in Cyprus. Allen, speaking on his capacity as a British official, said his country would wait and see.
“If you are asking me about detailed questions of what would happen under new arrangements, well I think we will let those play out around the negotiating table,” Allen said.
Another guarantor, Greece, has stated publicly it wanted to abolish the treaty while Turkey said it would continue its role as a guarantor.
The Greek Cypriot leader, President Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, are scheduled to meet with Guterres on Monday, November 25, in Berlin.
UN Special Envoy for Cyprus Jane Holl Lute had prepared the groundwork for an informal meeting through a series of visits to the island previously.
“I’d like to hear from them after Monday on what next,” Allen said.