President Nicos Anastasiades said the departure of the Turkish seismic vessel Barbaros from Cyprus was a positive step but also said it was important that Turkey issued no new navigational telex (NAVTEX) and respected the sovereign rights of the Republic.
He was speaking to the press on the sidelines of a church service to mark the April 1 60th anniversary of the start of the EOKA struggle against colonial rule.
“The fact that Barbaros has left is a positive step. What is left is for the NAVTEX not to be renewed and for the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus not to be disregarded,” he said.
Inresponse to a question whether the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide wass coming to Cyprus next Monday to announce the resumption of the talks on the Cyprus problem, Anastasiades said: “I don’t know why he is coming back. He is returning, of course, to consult whether the prospects are beingcreated. This will be indicated by events and then we will decide,” he added.
The Barbaros left Famagusta port on Monday, a day after the ENI—KOGAS drillship Sapiem10000 left the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for Italy to undergo maintenance for four or five months.
Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami said the Turkish Cypriot side was reciprocating for the departure of the Sapiem by sending the Barbaros back to Turkey because they did not want to give the Greek Cypriot side “any excuse” not to return to the negotiating table.
The Barbaros had been anchored off Famagusta since December 30 when the first NAVTEX, issued in October, expired, and the vessel had carried out seismic explorations in the island’s EEZ during a two-month period. In response, the Greek Cypriot side withdrew from the talks.
A second NAVTEX was issued from January 6 until April 6 but the Barbaros did not move from Famagusta port during the three months.
The expiry of the second NAVTEX, plus the fact that ENI-KOGAS has stopped drilling and sent the Sapiem to Italy for maintenance, which is expected to take four or five months, has opened a window of opportunity for the resumption of the stalled negotiations.
Eide will be on the island on from April 6-8 to meet the two leaders separately and to possibly announce a date for the resumption of talks.
Source: Cyprus Mail