New Geneva conference set for June 28 Updated

first_imgThe new Geneva conference on Cyprus is to take place on June 28, the UN announced on Friday.“In line with the statement issued following the meeting of the Secretary-General with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mustafa Akinci, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, in New York on 4 June, and following consultations with all participants, the Conference on Cyprus will reconvene in Geneva on 28 June 2017,” a brief announcement said.The Conference on Cyprus will reconvene at the political level under the auspices of the Secretary-General, with the participation of Anastasiades and Akinci, as well as Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer, it added.Although the statement made no mention of the level at which the guarantors will be represented, state radio’s Greece correspondent reported that the conference would be convened in the same format as before, meaning the three guarantors will be represented by their foreign ministers, “at least to begin with”.He added that, despite the rumoured tense relationship between Greek FM Nicos Kotzias and UN special adviser Espen Barth Eide, the two men are in daily contact and plan to meet “sometime around June 21”.The Geneva conference, envisioned as a final push toward a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, was first convened in January but produced meager results – after only one day of deliberations, technocrats from each delegation were dispatched to Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, to focus on the issue of security and guarantees.Subsequent complications in the bicommunal talks in Cyprus delayed developments, with UN special adviser Eide declaring he had failed to bridge disagreements between the two leaders on the agenda of the conference, even though both agreed on the need to reconvene the conference itself.However, a last-minute intervention by UN chief Antonio Guterres, who promptly invited the leaders to New York for a joint meeting last Sunday, broke the deadlock and paved the way for the conference to be reconvened.The conference, it was agreed, will be “open-ended”, while Eide has estimated it might last as long as two weeks.With Turkey poised to react to drilling scheduled for mid-July in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, the date of the conference appears designed to avert a possible oncoming crisis.As part of the agreement brokered by Guterres, Eide was mandated with drafting a “common document” in consultation with all stakeholders that will form the basis for discussion, in Geneva, of the chapter of security and guarantees.According to deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos, Nicosia has “received written assurances that the common document will be ready before June 28”.“Otherwise, we can’t go to Geneva,” he said.But this did little to convince opposition party Diko, which blasted Anastasiades for “failing everyone”, since the UN statement “merely proves that Turkey once more got what it wanted: a new five-party conference, without the Republic of Cyprus”.Meanwhile, in the north, political parties handed Akinci an uncharacteristic vote of confidence, following a briefing on the New York meeting behind closed doors.Even Akinci’s staunchest critic, National Unity Party (UBP) leader Huseyin Ozgurgun, said after the meeting that, despite earlier criticism he directed at the Turkish Cypriot leader, “reconvening the conference is a positive element”.“I believe [Geneva] is the final stage,” he said.“At this conference, in the presence of the three guarantors, everything can be discussed and, at last, come to the final point of agreement. The Greek Cypriot side, too, needs to understand this.”Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhurman said the party will do “everything in its power to see this affair to the end”.“What we need to do now is intensify work so that Geneva can bring a result,” he said.Democratic Party (DP) secretary-general Afet Ozcafer said “all parties support Mustafa Akinci and the peace talks”.“The two sides will sit and talk as equals, negotiate and come to a result,” she said.“We expect the United Nations to show sensitivity on this issue.”Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Ozyigit said “we are fast approaching a critical juncture with regard to the solution of the Cyprus problem”.“For the first time, the issue of security and guarantees can be discussed without it being considered taboo, and take a new form,” he said.“All of the issues, including the rotating presidency and the effective participation of Turkish Cypriots in decision-making, will be discussed in a give-and-take process, so that a result can be achieved.”You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? 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