Pr. Tatar received UNSG’s Special Representative in Cyprus Stewart
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) which will convene in New York in July will be briefed by the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative (SRSG) and head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Colin Stewart.
Ahead of the UN Security Council meeting, the Canadian diplomat came together with the two leaders on Monday.The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative (SRSG) Colin Stewart was received by President Ersin Tatar on Monday afternoon.President Tatar’s Special Representative Ergün Olgun was also present at the meeting which lasted an hour and a half.
Responding to reporters question after the meeting, Stewart said that the UN was in solidarity with the Turkish Cypriot people for the terrible fire that took place last week.
Expressing his appreciation to all those members of the international community including South Cyprus which contributed to the efforts to extinguish the fire, he said “I think it was an excellent illustration of the solidarity among Cypriots when something like that comes up.”
Stating that he had told both leaders during his meetings that building greater ties will increase trust, Stewart said, “Trust is probably the single most important thing missing at the moment that is preventing us to move forward on the Cyprus problem.”
Asked whether he will be including in his report the need to respect the notion of sovereign equality for a solution in Cyprus, the UN Envoy said, “The Secretary General still believes that we need to find a way forward for a political process and right now there is no common ground between the two parties. So, everything that we are doing is to try to build conditions that might lead to such common ground.”
In response to another question, Stewart said people on both sides of the island had pains resulting from the past and that the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) was carrying out work regarding this issue, he said the issue of missing persons was one of the factors which caused mistrust and prevented the island from moving forward.
Also speaking to the press after the meeting, the President’s Special Representative Ergün Olgun referred to the importance of the report which will be presented by Stewart.
He also reminded that the task of the UN was to help achieve an agreement in Cyprus that will be accepted by both sides.
Noting that there was currently no common ground between the two sides, Olgun said, “This common ground can only be achieved through the recognition of the equality of the two sides. We are dealing with a Greek state which occupied the Republic of Cyprus and claims that it is the sole representative of the island. Equality can only be possible through an agreement between two states. We conveyed to Mr. Stewart that creating a common ground and reaching a sustainable agreement in Cyprus can only be possible through the confirmation of the sovereign equality and equal international status of the sides.”
Stressing that there is a serious lack of confidence between the two sides, he said trust can only be possible through mutual respect.
“We are not denying the Greek Cypriot side’s rights. However, they should also acknowledge that the Turkish Cypriots have a right to possess their own state,” Olgun said.
Noting that the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots were seriously hurting trust between the two sides, he said the lifting of the embargoes will help build trust.
Meanwhile, UN Envoy Colin Stewart met with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on Monday morning.