|Tuesday, 20 February 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-09-27
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 LEADERS TALKS - DOWNERUN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on the Cyprus problem, Alexander Downer, has said that the controversy regarding drilling for hydrocarbons in Cyprus EEZ should not derail the direct talks for the Cyprus problem.
He urged all sides to act with due restraint to ensure that in no way this issue derails these talks.
Downer also said that the United Nations could consider a mediating role concerning this matter, provided that the two ask for its involvement.
Speaking to the press after a meeting between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, which lasted 5 hours, Downer said that the hydrocarbons issue was not discussed in todays direct talks, adding however that the two leaders had the opportunity to discuss the matter with the UNSG in New York last week.
The SG has made it clear that it is important that restraint is exercised here and that we do what we can to try to make sure that these talks are successful, we do not want anything to happen that would derail the talks, so far that hasn`t happened and we hope that this remains the case, Downer noted.
Downer said that the leaders touched upon the matter in the meeting they had right after the holiday break, however he stressed that if they allow these meetings to be overwhelmed by this issue, it would be derailing the talks.
They spent some time talking about it, I have obviously spoken to the sides about it on several occasions, as I have with the Turkish government and a number of other governments, so a good deal of talking has been going on about this issue, he added.
UNSG Special Adviser also said that if the talks are successful, the new United Federal Cypriot government will have responsibility for resources issues, noting that there was a convergence between the two sides, that in the event of an agreement, that is what will happen.
Once revenue starts flowing, that revenue will flow to the federal government, he explained.
So it is really important to understand that. Both communities have an incentive, this is not the only one, but including this, to make sure to reach an agreement to the Cyprus problem and it underlines a simple point: that the stability of the region will be very much enhanced by an agreement here in these negotiations, he noted.
Asked what the UN could do to assist the situation regarding the hydrocarbons, he said that if the two sides request some sort of a mediating role, the UN would consider the matter.
If the two sides came to us and asked us to play some sort of mediating role, the SG would have a look at that, and we would discuss this and see what we could do, but the two sides would have to come to us, we are not trying to impose ourselves, he clarified.
He said that the UN had private conversations with the Greek Cypriots, the Turks and the Turkish Cypriots about the issue, as well as with a number of other countries and what we say remains private and our focus is on the talks.
Invited to comment on the fact that the Turkish Cypriot leader has put forward some proposals to the UNSG on the matter, Downer said that the UN has received a paper now from the Turkish side.
He said that President Christofias is aware of these proposals, as they have been made public, explaining however that how the Greek Cypriots respond to this is a matter that Ill leave to them.
He repeated that in terms of any role for the United Nations, that is something we would think about in the context of us being asked by the two sides to play a role.
Downer said that today the leaders talked about European Union matters, describing this as one of the less contentious chapters in the negotiations.
He announced that the leaders will meet again on Friday to discuss security issues, whereas their aides will meet on Thursday, at 10 oclock in the morning.
The UN official said that negotiations will enter a new phase next week, because we will have gone through all of the chapters by the end of this week.
He said that he will be talking with the leaders tomorrow about how were going to handle this new phase, adding that this will be a phase that will lead us up to the meeting with the Secretary-General.
He clarified that no date has been confirmed on the meeting with the SG, however its likely to be at the very end in October.
How that meeting will go, as I have explained before, will depend very much on whats been achieved by then, we look forward to next week getting into a different phase of the negotiations and that will take us through to the last meeting, which is on the 21st of October, he added.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus northern part since they invaded in 1974, is the only country in the world, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its EEZ, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based Noble Energy, off Cyprus south-eastern coast.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkeys moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
UN-led talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus are currently underway in order to reach a negotiated settlement that would reunify the island. The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus will meet with UNSG Ban Ki - moon in October in New York to review progress in the Cyprus talks.
 EU COMMISSION CYPRUS - EEZEU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule has pointed out that Cyprus has the right to delimit its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and conclude agreements with third countries for hydrocarbon exploration.
Replying to a question posed during Question Time at the European Parliament on Tuesday, by Cypriot MEP Eleni Theocharous on the matter, Fule said: Needless to say we follow the developments in and around Cyprus indeed very closely, noting at the same time that the European Commission considers reaching a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue a priority.
We also made it absolutely clear that it is Cyprus right to delimit its EEZ and to conclude treaties with third countries if they are in accordance with the acquis and international treaties, he added.
He further said that the European Commission has taken a number of steps to calm down the situation, adding that because of that we have not seen some of the threats coming from Turkey being actually delivered.
 FM PIRI REISCypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoulli has questioned Turkish Piri Reis ship`s capability to conduct research, noting that the government of Cyprus is following Piri Reis` and other ships` route in the Mediterranean, making all necessary representations.
Replying to questions about Piri Reis deployment in the Mediterranean, where according to the Turkish side it began geophysical and seismic research, Markoulli said that Cypriot officials are informed on these issues on a daily basis and added: Allow me to question Piri Reiss role. We following the movement of the Turkish fleet and of some other research vessels commissioned by the Turkish government and all Turkish military actions are being followed by the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry and other government departments.
She added that the Foreign Ministry has the mandate to make representations on a daily basis and inform all members of the international community which must be informed and act when the time is right.
Invited to say if Piri Reis has begun to conduct research, Markoulli noted that research has not started for sure, recalling that Piri Reis is nearly 40 years old. She noted that if the vessel had the appropriate equipment for research then the Turkish government would not have concluded an agreement with foreign companies to conduct seismic research as has been announced.
 UNSB - LAVROV - DAVUTOGLUUnited Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has discussed developments in Cyprus at separate meetings he had with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu and Russia Sergey Lavrov. The meetings were held on the margins of the 66th UN General Assembly in New York.
According to a UN read out, the Secretary General and Turkish FM discussed a range of regional issues, including the situation in Libya, the horn of Africa and Syria.
They also exchanged views on the Palmer report, the Cyprus talks, and the upcoming conference on Afghanistan to be held in Istanbul on 2 November.
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