UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will not jeopardize his reputation by launching new Cyprus negotiations should the two sides fail to find common ground to restart talks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay has said.
In an interview with Greek Cypriot daily ‘Kathimerini’ newspaper, the foreign minister said that the important thing was not starting new negotiations as an end but a means to achieving a settlement in Cyprus.
The UN Secretary-General had acted with wisdom regarding launching an assessment as to whether or not to restart the talks, Özersay said, however, he pointed out that Guterres’ realistic approach did not match that of the Security Council which referred to frameworks based on presumptions.
Reminding that Guterres had initially declared that the 2017 Cyprus conference in Crans-Montana had failed and that both sides should enter a period of reflection, the foreign minister said that the Secretary-General had sent an envoy [Jane Holl Lute] to the island to sound out prospects of resuming talks.
Responding to a question as to what the Secretary-General’s next move will be, Özersay pointed out that Guterres will be addressing the UN Security Council at the end of October in light of the information at hand.
He expressed the view that Guterres will not jeopardize his reputation by launching a new process should he fail to detect sufficient will on both sides to restart talks.
Regarding a question on the Exclusive Economic Zone, Özersay said that the Turkish side had, since 2010, changed its approach which used to be to protest against the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral actions regarding exploration for hydrocarbons.
In 2010, the TRNC signed a continental shelf delimitation agreement with Turkey which authorised Turkish Petroleum to carry out its own exploration activities in the area, he reminded.
“We have now reached the drilling stage”, he said, adding that in future, it will not be possible for the Greek Cypriots to prevent drilling in areas determined by the Turkish Cypriot side. “In addition to this Turkey, will not allow anyone access to the area where it will carry out exploration activities. One side will be saluting the other from their drilling platforms”, he added.
Asked what developments could be expected should negotiations start immediately, Özersay said that both the future of the negotiations and that of UNFICYP will be discussed at the end of October.
“If we really want a solution, we need to shake up the elements of the status quo which will show and convince the Greek Cypriot side that maintaining the current order is not possible or sustainable”, he said.
Asked what these elements were, Özersay said “the first is the end of UNFICYP’s presence on the island and the second raising the possibility that the Greek Cypriots may not represent the whole of the island in the future. If both these happen, then that is when Pandora’s Box will be opened”.
The TRNC Foreign Minister also stated that everyone knew that the so-called Republic of Cyprus did not speak on behalf or represent both communities on the island.
The foreign minister is currently in New York.