UN Security Council’s Big Five Back Cyprus Unity Push

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council used the anniversary of Cyprus’ Independence Day to say they want a resolution to the long-standing division of the island created when Turkey unlawfully invaded and occupied the northern third in 1974.

Russia, France, China and the United States issued statements of support for reunification. Along with the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler which still has a military base on the island, have, however, been unable to help solve the problem.

Turkey used the anniversary to issue new provocations as Turkish warships are off the island’s coast in a bid to keep foreign energy companies from drilling for oil and gas. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who wants to join the European Union, refuses to recognize Cyprus – a member – and bars its ships and planes.

Russia is “the consistent supporter of the achievement of a just, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem in the interests of the entire population of the island,” President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that a solution would “meet in full the interests of strengthening security and stability in Europe and in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

In a congratulatory message to the president on the occasion of the anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus, Putin said: “Relations between Russia and Cyprus, based on good traditions of friendship as well as cultural and spiritual affinity, are highly esteemed in our country.”

Cypriot soldiers are seen on tanks during a military parade marking the 58 years celebrations of independence in Nicosia in the divided island of Cyprus, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

“I am confident that by our joint efforts we will ensure further enhancement of constructive bilateral cooperation in various fields,” Putin added. Wealthy Russians use the island, a notorious tax haven, to stash their cash.

In a report, the Cyprus Mail noted other messages of support, including from US President Donald Trump who said that, “We look forward to maintaining close cooperation based on our shared values and interests.“The continued strengthening of our bilateral ties will ensure the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region and foster increased economic, security and energy development.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping said: ”China and Cyprus have enjoyed long-term friendship and shown each other mutual understanding and support, although our two countries are geographically apart and have different national conditions. In recent years, our bilateral pragmatic cooperation has been fruitful with expanding mutual visits. I attach great importance to the development of China-Cyprus relations and look forward to continuing working with you to advance our bilateral ties for new progress.”

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his hope for the resumption of the Cyprus peace talks “as soon as possible.” The last round, in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, fell apart when Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove a Turkish army in the occupied area and wanted the right to militarily intervene when they wanted.

“As you know France supports a just, comprehensive and viable solution of the Cyprus problem, in line with the agreed principles of the United Nations and compatible with the acquis communautaire, so that all Cypriots can finally find a way to live together in a reunited island,” Macron said.