The government is ready to discuss setting up a mechanism for direct contacts at a military level between the National Guard and the Turkish occupation forces. President Nicos Anastasiades said in his written update to the excellent office’s mission of the UN Secretary-General.
Ideas, however, on cooperation between the two ‘sides’ on a wide array of issues lead to portraying the Cyprus problem as an inter-communal issue. Instead of a global problem of foreign invasion and occupation by Turkey, he said.
Anastasiades’ comments and those of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were included in Antonio Guterres’ latest report on the UNSG’s good offices mission released on Wednesday evening US time.
In it, Anastasiades said that as regards the UN Security Council’s call for an effective mechanism for direct military contacts last July, the Republic of Cyprus has submitted its proposal to the UNSG through a letter last December.
The Greek Cypriot side expressed readiness to discuss the establishment of a mechanism for direct contacts at a military level between the National Guard and the Turkish occupation forces, comprising their commanders and the force commander of Unficyp as a facilitator of the mission’s mandate.
“I wish to inform and assure that we stand ready to engage with Unficyp to this end, at the earliest opportunity,” Anastasiades said.
He added that the idea for such a mechanism originated from the need to explore measures to address the increasing “and extremely worrisome violations of the military status quo by the Turkish occupation forces, in various sensitive locations along their ceasefire line and beyond,” particularly since the beginning of 2019.
But while the government is willing to discuss cooperation at a military level, he said, “ideas advocating the establishment of mechanisms on a wide array of issues coupled with extensive references calling for cooperation between the two ‘sides’ are counterproductive and only serve towards deviating efforts away from the fundamental goal of reunification.”
Such ideas, he said, “in conjunction with the revival of the unacceptable notion of contacts with the secessionist entity ‘without prejudice to recognition,’ only serve to promote the normalization of the status quo and thus the permanent division of Cyprus.”
They also reflect a tendency to shift away from the commitment to solve the Cyprus problem based on relevant Security Council resolutions but also circumvent such decisions and portray the Cyprus problem as an inter-communal issue, instead of its core nature as a global problem of foreign invasion and military occupation by Turkey, he said.
He added that this approach is also contrary to the mission of Unficyp as it contradicts the essence of its mandate.