Cyprus President, FM offer contradictory statements ahead of Lute meeting

Cyprus President, FM offer contradictory statements ahead of Lute meeting

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides speaking on Tuesday, after a closed session of the House Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, said that President Nicos Anastasiades is “absolutely prepared and looks forward to a very substantial discussion on specific issues, that also involve matters of substance, and which led the latest effort to a failed outcome” as well as on procedural issues.

Asked about the form of a Cyprus settlement, Christodoulides clarified that the government is not contemplating any other form, other than a bizonal bicommunal federation.

“I want to send a message to all parliamentary parties, across the whole political world, with absolute respect to those who might have different approaches and different interpretations, that we need to lower the tone and work – on the occasion of the debate taking place today at the Security Council and Lute’s arrival – in order to see how to create prospects for the substantial resumption of talks, that will lead to a result that is not outside the framework of UN resolutions and EU principles and values,” he said.

The president however has been making overtures regarding a vaguely defined devolved federation, hinting at a confederate form of governance for the future unified state. Invited to say what his expectations from his meeting with Lute are, Anastasiades said on Sunday that this will be an exploratory mission, noting that “we do not expect she will bring concrete ideas.”

“'The discussion concerning other forms of settlement – either a two-state solution or a confederation – will only harm our effort to terminate the illegal occupation and to reunify our country,” the foreign minister said. According to Christodoulides, “the SG terms of reference, included in his report, come from the UN resolutions and speak clearly about a bizonal bicommunal federation.”

Christodoulides reiterated that “the goal is clear and it does not fall outside the framework of UN resolutions for a bizonal bicommunal federation.” He added that “our desire for this form of solution has been also proven in the latest negotiation effort.”

Referring to a proposal by the President of the Republic, favoring a decentralized form of federal government, Christodoulides said it was “food for thought” and falls within the framework of the bizonal bicommunal federation, without putting in doubt the form of a Cyprus settlement.

According to the foreign minister, this approach is taking into consideration the position of the Turkish side and may create the conditions for agreement over a subject dominated by disagreement.

Referring to Jane Holl Lute, the UN Secretary-General’s envoy, Christodoulides expressed hope that the outcome of her meetings will create the conditions for the immediate resumption of settlement talks.

“For us, the status quo can never be the solution of the Cyprus problem” he said, adding that with this in mind “we will do everything possible, in order to create the prospects for the resumption of talks.”

Asked whether MPs were briefed about the ideas over a decentralized form of federal government, Christodoulides said they were not.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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