Turkey’s actions not conducive to Secretary-General’s efforts to resume Cyprus talks, government says

Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas commented on Turkish military actions

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Turkey’s continuous efforts to militarize the occupied areas of Cyprus are not conducive to the efforts of the UN Secretary-General for the resumption of settlement talks, Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said on Thursday. He added that Nicosia intends to continue using all diplomatic means in its disposal, to respond to these actions.

Speaking at the Presidential Palace, in response to a question about Turkish actions and statements regarding the occupied areas, Sentonas said that this effort of Turkey aims to lead to further instability and insecurity in the region.

The whole endeavor is an obstacle to the efforts, already undertaken by the UN Secretary-General after the meeting in Berlin, last November, to consult with the interested parties on the possibility of convening an informal five-party conference that would lead to the conclusion of the terms of reference and open the way for negotiations, he added.

“These actions by Turkey are not at all helpful in relation to efforts to resume the dialogue on the Cyprus problem” Sentonas noted.

He also said that Nicosia opts to continue on the responsible path of diplomacy, adding that there is no intention on the part of the government to further poison the climate.

“Our intention is to take action leading to the big target, that is security and peace in the region”, Sentonas noted.

Asked finally about the way Nicosia can benefit from its trilateral cooperation schemes, the Deputy Government Spokesman said that the government of Cyprus is in constant contact with countries affected by Turkey’s provocative attitude, both EU members and countries from the region.

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.

Turkey also dispatched several drilling, research and military vessels in areas that fall within the continental shelf/EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus.

Recently Turkey deployed unmanned aerial vehicles in an illegal airport, in the occupied areas of Cyprus, with reports in the Turkish press indicating that Ankara might plan to use the same airport as a base for F-16s and a port in the occupied village of Boghaz as a naval base.

In late November, Turkey and the Prime Minister of Libya signed a “memorandum of understanding” to delimitate maritime jurisdiction areas, causing the reaction of several countries, including that of Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt, who said that the MoU violates international law and has no legal basis.


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