North and South critical of Ban’s report

President Nicos Anastasiades has said that he refuses be blackmailed into returning to the negotiating table adding that just because he was in favour of reunification in 2004, he should not be taken for granted.

“I want to say one thing; I will not bow, under any circumstances, and be dragged into talks under threat or blackmail,” Anastasiades said in an interview with private Mega television on Thursday evening.

Anastasiades was responding to the publication of the UN Secretary-General’s report on UNFICYP. The South was highly critical of Ban Ki-moon’s report, saying it was biased and did not reflect the real situation.

The Greek Cypriot president said that the report attempt to indirectly force the South into returning to the negotiations even though Turkey was violating Cyprus’ sovereign rights. He also rejected suggestion of discussing joint exploitation of the island’s natural resources and joint decision making over those resources…

“So that Turkish Cypriots become partners in the Republic’s natural wealth and also have the right to choose plan B (partition),” the president said.

He submitted that his refusing to engage in such discussions, despite pressure from certain quarters, had engendered a negative climate as reflected in the UNSG’s report, which Anastasiades described as an “unacceptable text”.

“Some people took for granted that because I supported the Annan plan I would accept any solution,” he said.

Anastasiades said he had received promises from Ban, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and US Vice President Joe Biden, the Russian foreign minister and even Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, that Turkey was ready to go ahead with talks at the start of October as agreed.

Further, the ambassador of an unnamed and important power, had told him that before the start of the talks, Turkey would was going to lift the embargo on Cyprus-flagged vessels.

“Instead, five days later a Navtex was issued (announcement of seismic surveys inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone or EEZ),” he said. “It is the first time I say it but patience has its limits.”

Anastasiades halted the Cyprus negotiations after Turkey dispatched a research vessel to carry out seismic surveys inside the island’s EEZ where oil companies are carrying out hydrocarbon exploration.

The South’s government is reacting angrily because the UNSG failed to take a stance over these violations of Cyprus’ EEZ.

Ban also included a reference on Turkish Cypriot isolation in his report, a subject that has not come up for several years.

The South said if anyone is to blame for the isolation, it’s the continuing occupation of the island’s northern part by the Turkish army.

Source Cyprus Today


Meanwhile, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports that the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry was also not altogether happy with Ban Ki-moon’s report.

The ministry commented that as well as some positive aspects, the report was incomplete and erroneous.

The FM said that the paragraph relating to the natural resources and comprehensive talks was not referred to objectively or fairly despite warnings by the Turkish Cypriots. It said it believed the report only served and encouraged the Greek Cypriot side to continue with its negative position.

The Foreign Ministry statement pointed out that the Secretary-General’s reference to “removal of restrictions and barriers” against the Turkish Cypriots was an important factor:

Similarly, the removal of restrictions and barriers that impede the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community will promote trust. Such a development will help to address the isolation concerns of the Turkish Cypriots, as well as their inability to participate meaningfully in an interconnected world, thereby preparing Cyprus for a comprehensive settlement. In my view, encouraging trade can only have a positive effect on the objective of reunification”, Ban wrote.

However, the ministry said that the report failed to give the Greek Cypriots the message that the UN expects them to move in cooperation or in partnership with the Turkish Cypriots on the issue of natural resources.

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