There has been a lack of progress in implementing confidence building measures (CBM), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has written in his latest report.
Ban called on both community leaders to take steps to remedy the situation. He also points to a “missed opportunity for collaboration” at the time when there were a series of major fires on the Troodos Mountains on 19-20th June. The Turkish Cypriot side had offered help but the offer was turned down by the Greek Cypriots.
Although he commends both community leaders for the real progress they have made in the Cyprus negotiations, he notes that the CBMs agreed upon over a year ago, have not been implemented.
“The leaders have demonstrated courage and perseverance during this period, and have made genuine progress through their constant engagement. I urge them to redouble their efforts in the months to come if they are to meet their stated aim of reaching a comprehensive settlement within 2016,” Ban says.
Referring to CBMs agreed to by both leaders on 28th May 2015, he said:
“Mobile phone interoperability, inter-connectivity of electricity grids and the opening of the two crossings at Lefka-Aplici/Lefke-Aplıç and Deryneia/Derynia – despite initial progress – have not materialised.
“I urge the leaders to implement all agreed measures in good faith and without delay. Such measures can be instrumental in building a conducive environment for the negotiations as they can have a positive and concrete impact on the everyday lives of Cypriots and indicate that an alternative future is possible and within reach,” he noted.
Referring to the missed opportunity the weekend of the Solea fire in the Troodos Mountains, Ban’s report said Akıncı had contacted Anastasiades directly to offer Turkish Cypriot assistance.
“Mr Anastasiades thanked Mr Akıncı for the offer, informing him that he did not foresee a need for further contributions to the effort. Likewise, a Turkish offer of assistance could not be realised,” said the report.
“In light of the missed opportunity to collaboratively fight the fires in Troodos, the Technical Committee on Crisis Management could be used to establish and implement best practices in the event of future crises,” said Ban.
Ban also mentions the incident last November when Greek Cypriot youths attacked Turkish Cypriot cars stopped at a traffic lights in Nicosia.
Noting the leaders’ joint statement against racism and hatred, Ban welcomed reports that legal proceedings were underway. “A swift conclusion of the case will send the right signal that such acts will not be tolerated now or in a future united Cyprus,” the UN Secretary-General said.
In the light of the negotiations being intensified, Ban also urged the leaders to take steps to continue with de-mining on the island.