Despite Turkish Belligerence, Anastasiades Ready to Talk Reunification

Αssociated press

President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Having said Turkey is already conducting an energy invasion of Cyprus' sovereign waters in a hunt for energy, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said he's still willing to try again to restart reunification talks to bring back together the island where Turkey occupies the northern third.

The last round of negotiations collapsed in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove a 35,000-strong army in the occupied land only Turkey recognizes at the same time it's been trying to join the European Union – to which Cyprus belongs – since 2005.

Anastasiades – who asked the United Nations to intervene over the drilling – said he wants UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres involved in the talks between him and Akinci if they are able to get restarted, which he said won't happen unless Turkey stops the drilling – which Erdogan said won't happen.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA,) Presidential spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Anastasiades was even ready to start talking this month, at least initially to set the agenda and topics to be discussed.

Prodromou said the Cypriot side was waiting to hear from Guterres' office although the UN Secretary-General, who was at the Swiss debacle, had already said he wanted to get involved again for another try although a solution has evaded diplomats, envoys and the UN for 45 years.

Baris Burcu, the spokesman for Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, said in a tweet that the meeting would be held in a European city in the second half of November if they happened and that Akinci, who blamed Anastasiades, was ready as well to start anew.

The UN's Special Representative on Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, said she would send by the end of October a preliminary draft report on the UN chief’s Good Offices mission in Cyprus, which has also failed to make any progress in getting the two sides to sit down again.

The report will then be finalized by Guterres and his envoy, American diplomat Jane Holl Lute, a source that wasn't named told CNA.

Asked if Spehar would hold meetings with the two leaders as part of the preparations, the source said this had not been decided yet “because this time it is the Secretary-General who has been at the forefront, leading the efforts,” with no report what he's doing about it.