Ban urges de-escalation of tensions in Cyprus

A statement issued on behalf of UNSG Ban Ki-moon reads that: “The Secretary-General expressed concern over the tensions that have arisen in relation to hydrocarbons and over the suspension of negotiations”, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports.

Following a briefing on the latest developments from his Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide, Ban stressed the need for all parties involved to “de-escalate the situation” so as to avoid any further instability in an already volatile region.

The Secretary-General also emphasised the need for the parties in Cyprus to return to the negotiating table “without delay” after Greek Cypriot President Anastasiades pulled out of the peace talks following Turkey’s threat to send a survey vessel to sea areas which the South has claimed as its own EEZ and has licensed multinational companies to conduct gas exploration drills.

The Turkish seismic vessel ‘Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha’, accompanied by support vessels and a Turkish frigate, has encroached on Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since Monday. In response, Nicosia said it would block the opening of any new chapters in Turkey’s EU accession process. In the statement from New York, Ban further “called on countries of the region to help create a conducive environment for productive talks”.

Ban noted that, as both leaders have stated, the two communities can ill afford to maintain the status quo, in particular in light of the deteriorating regional context. In view of the Special Adviser’s upcoming visits to Cyprus, as well as to Turkey and Greece, the Secretary-General expressed his hope that all concerned will work constructively with Eide to swiftly overcome the current difficulties.

Finally, the Secretary-General reminded everyone about the commitment made by the two leaders in September to accelerate the negotiating process.

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