The government of Cyprus does not expect the country to be affected by developments in the broader region, following the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, at the same time, however, police gave instructions for heightened security measures to prevent possible retaliatory acts.
Asked about developments in the Middle East, Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said on Saturday that they also have an impact on the Eastern Mediterranean. “This is a development that I believe will not affect Cyprus internally. Cyprus is not worried about any retaliation. Despite this, as you already know, the Police Chief gave instructions for heightened measures, particularly in areas related to the interests of certain foreign countries that may be possibly targeted for retaliation” Koushos said.
Asked about the prospects for the resumption of Cyprus talks, following a statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader on the EastMed pipeline deal, the Spokesman said that the President of Cyprus has repeatedly confirmed that “we are ready to start at any moment the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem.”
Koushos noted that a similar statement was made by President Anastasiades at the trilateral meeting in Berlin, last November, and has been repeated numerous times ever since. “We reconfirm our willingness and readiness to resume talks for a Cyprus settlement” he added.
He said moreover that the intergovernmental deal for the EastMed pipeline is not targeting anybody “on the contrary, we deem that it may assist in bringing about stability and peace in the region.” He also said that any country that wishes so, is welcome to participate in the EastMed project.
Asked about the government’s next steps regarding the resumption of talks, Koushos said that the Turkish side is not ready for this. “We have to wait until Spring later this year and we hope that after the ‘elections’ for the new Turkish Cypriot leader we may be able to proceed with the next steps, to convene a five-party conference and hold a discussion after that for the solution of the Cyprus problem, as you understand,” the Spokesman said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.