Demands by the Turkish side at the Geneva Conference on the Cyprus problem last January and onwards have led to difficulties in the UN-led peace talks, Deputy Government Spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos has said.
He pointed out however that the Greek Cypriot side will continue to show political will and will keep trying with all means available for progress in the negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus.
Papadopoulos was talking to the press after today’s meeting of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus issue. The political leaders were briefed by President Nicos Anastasiades on the talks, which resumed last week following a two month suspension because the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci walked out condemning a decision taken by the Cyprus House on the 1950 enosis (union) referendum.
He said that the National Council also exchanged views on the situation in Turkey following the referendum on April 16 for constitutional reforms as well as Ankara`s provocations in Cyprus` exclusive economic zone ( EEZ). Turkey has issued a navigational warning (NAVTEX) and has reserved an area within the territorial sea, continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Cyprus off the coast of Famagusta for the conduct of seismic surveys, between 21 April and 30 June 2017, by the survey vessel “BARBAROS HAYREDDIN PAŞA” and support vessel “BRAVO SUPPORTER”.
Papadopoulos described the meeting as fruitful, saying that the exchange of ideas took place in a very good atmosphere.
Invited to comment on statements about a stalemate in the talks, he said that convergences and progress were made in the past, but now “we are faced with some difficulties and our side is showing good will to help overcome them.”
He added that the Greek Cypriot side will not abandon the negotiating table and the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, and will intensify these efforts for progress to take place.
Papadopoulos also said that soon there will be another meeting of the National Council.
Replying to a question on possible efforts made by some to attribute responsibilities to the President, as well as to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Papadopoulos said that he is not aware of who is trying to attribute such responsibilities.
He underlined that the Greek Cypriot side is showing real political will and the President himself has taken bold decisions in the past in order for the dialogue to move forward. He also said that at this point it is not wise to get involved in a blame game and should remain focused on the aim to reunify our country.
Asked what steps have been taken to address the Turkish provocations in Cyprus` EEZ, he said that too many things have been done with respect to developments at any given time. Papadopoulos said that that patience and unity should prevail.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-backed talks aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.