Nicosia ‘cautiously optimistic’ over Erdogan’s stance

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President Nikos Christodoulides has “cautious optimism” after being briefed by EU leaders on their discussions with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during the NATO meeting in Vilnius.

He announced receiving a positive response from Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar regarding a joint visit to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) anthropological lab.

On Tuesday, he was speaking upon his arrival for the second day of the EU – Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Brussels.

President Christodoulides said he was thoroughly briefed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “on what was discussed on the margins of the NATO Summit in Lithuania.

“I note Turkey’s interest in strengthening EU – Turkey relations. It is something we support.

“It is part of the broader framework of our proposal, our approach.

“I was pleased to hear that this strengthening of relations also requires substantive developments on the Cyprus problem.

“I believe that the next period will determine whether these statements, the expression of interest, will be accompanied by concrete steps that are directly related to the Cyprus problem.

President Christodoulides said he is “cautiously optimistic about developments” and pointed out that diplomatic efforts will continue throughout the summer.

He said he expects efforts to culminate in New York and expressed the hope of positive developments at the European Council in October.

“Everything will depend on actions and not just intentions. I repeat, intentions are very important; I welcome them, I support them, and I am here to work for concrete developments concerning the resumption of the Cyprus settlement talks, with an enhanced role for the European Union, taking into account Turkey’s interest in coming closer to the European Union,” he said.

President Christodoulides was asked to elaborate on a recent statement regarding his intention to promote measures for the Turkish Cypriot community.

The President said he spoke “with members of civil society”, that is, “Turkish Cypriot compatriots who believe in reunification based on the agreed framework.”

“I listened to their concerns, I listened to their worries, and yes, we are preparing proposals which we will make public very soon,” he added.

Christodoulides also referred to a letter he recently sent to Tatar regarding a possible joint visit to the Committee on Missing Persons anthropological laboratory.

“I was informed last night that there was a first positive reaction.

“A specific date for the joint visit at the end of July was discussed.”

The two sides have begun the preparation of a joint communication that will be issued following the visit.

“I don’t see any difficulties in making this visit happen. It will send a positive message.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Cyprus next week for bilateral and trilateral meetings.

On the margins of his meetings in Brussels were “specific references” to the EU’s role “through specific developments in the broader context of EU – Turkey relations…more active involvement of the European Union with the appointment of a personality as an envoy.”