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Cyprus president: Eide’s references to possible escalation of tension are unacceptable

President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has described as “unacceptable” remarks by the UNSG’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide who said that the best way to avoid “a hot incident” in relation to energy issues this summer is to resume negotiations.

The President also said he has already told Eide in person that he considers this kind of references “unacceptable, in particular when expressed in a way which is tantamount to threats.”

Asked what one could expect from Eide’s meeting today with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, President Anastasiades said he expects the outcome of the meeting but also to see the extent to which Turkey is ready to contribute so that any future conference on Cyprus will produce results.

“This is what we are seeking. We are not looking into ways to use up the time in vain for publicity purposes, we want the time to be used for the substance of the problem” he said.

Invited to comment on Eide’s view that the problem in Cyprus is the lack of emotional trust and not something substantial – according to the press question – , the President noted that he did not wish to comment on everything, adding that everybody can have his own views.

Anastasiades questioned the view that it is up to the leaders of the island’s two communities to go to Geneva for a conference. “The point is to have the will to be effective in our dialogue” he noted, and wondered why the two leaders should move to Geneva if Turkey is not ready to have a dialogue on issues that relate to Ankara, such as security concerns and the issue of guarantees.

“We can continue the talks and when Turkey is ready to discuss the issue of security then we can proceed with the next step” he explained.

Asked to comment on Eide’s remark that the most appropriate medicine in order to avoid any escalation of tension related to energy issues during summer is to resume talks, President pointed out that he considers this the worst recipe or the worst medicine “to use threats instead of presenting impartially the facts”.

“It is even worse when a UNSG’s envoy acknowledges that there is a violation international law or he claims that international law may have been violated, and instead of condemning the perpetrator, he uses him as a threat,” the President pointed out.

Turkey, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, has sent vessels in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, warning of “a hot incident” if drilling by oil companies goes ahead as planned in early July. Nicosia says that drilling will take place in line with the agreements it has signed with foreign oil companies.

UN-facilitated peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that would reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.