Published On: Mon, Jan 9th, 2023

U.N. Secretary-General: Pushing For Constructive Dialogue On Cyprus Issue

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By Janet Ekstract

NEW YORK- Turkiye, Greece and the U.K. are being pushed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to get behind constructive dialogue in light of major tensions between the two leaders of the island.  These three nations known as Cyprus power guarantors have been at loggerheads for decades about Cypriot sovereignty. As Guterres laid out in a statement from his latest report: “In the continued absence of substantive dialogue on the Cyprus issue between the two sides and given the prevailing socio-economic and political climate, prospects for reaching common ground on the Cyprus peace process, remain uncertain for the time being. The positions of the two sides remain far apart and both sides maintain their opposing views about the way forward.”

Guterres explained that as yet no U.N. envoy has been appointed who would act as intermediary to seek ways to create common ground to restart negotiations for a lasting settlement. The secretary-general further stated that politics are complicated by disputes and statements about areas in and adjacent to the buffer zone as well as the fenced-off coastal area of Maras or Varosha in Greece that became a ghost town since it was cut off from the world for 47 years. Part of the region was reopened in October 2020 but Maras was abandoned after a 1984 U.N. Security Council resolution that said only original inhabitants could resettle in the town.

The U.N. chief said all parties must avoid unilateral actions that could provoke tensions and warned that natural resources in and around the vicinity of the island must benefit both communities. Guterres added: “The situation on the island is compounded by ongoing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean region, including competing maritime zone claims and worsening relations between guarantor powers Greece and Turkiye. Beginning in October, however, hardening demands related to the status of the north and political rhetoric in the south in the context of electoral campaigning increased perceived psychological barriers to cooperation.” He said that Cypriots must take an active role in directing their future of the island and that “continuous and serious efforts are needed to find a mutually acceptable way forward.”

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