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355 words - April 30, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
On April 29, the government of Cyprus officially protested against the meeting of United Nations (UN) Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, with the "so-called Foreign Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün in the occupied areas of Cyprus," stressing that "actions anticipating possible equation of the institutions of a legal state with representatives of an illegal secessionist entity should be avoided."
Mr. Downer's trip to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus aimed at re-launching peace talks which have been stalled since January 2012. In Istanbul, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held the Greek Cypriots responsible of the current deadlock and underlined "that the call made by Northern Cyprus to restart the talks is important and should be responded." In Athens, Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed "Greece's support for Mr. Downer's mandate and mission." He also stressed "the relevant responsibilities of the Turkish Cypriot leadership and Turkey for the lack of progress."
At the UN, there is a clear understanding that Cyprus is "going through a difficult and challenging time right now," and that the "main preoccupation" is the financial and economic situation. Persuaded that the recently-elected President Nikos Anastasiades is committed to a solution; he said yes to the Annan Plan in 2004; UN official Lisa Buttenheim believes "it is very important" to "keep" Mr. Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot "counterpart" Mr. Dervis Eroglu "in the picture" towards building commitment to "try to have a result-oriented process."
According to DiploNews, there is a number of actors from both sides who are pro-reunification, however the questions about the Turkish presence in North Cyprus as regards international law and the growing issue of who owns the natural resources in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) require some consensus between the parties before hoping for any breakthrough.
As Greek Cyprus's GDP is to drop by 20% by 2016, economic and financial sources assessed re-unification with Turkish Cyprus could put Cyprus as a whole back on the track of growth, supported by the long-term promises of the Aphrodite gasfield in the eastern Mediterranean and potential revenue from a yet-to-be-developed Tourism sector.
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