February 22, 2019

Abstracts from the Secretary General’s Press Encounter with the F.M. of Ireland and Representative of the EU Mr. Brian Cowen in Brussels

EU PRESIDENT: …And obviously in relation we discussed other issues — Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus, North Korea, Burma and other regional issues which were, we were very happy to have the assessment of the UN Secretary-General on those matters.

Q: I would like to ask the Secretary-General with regard to the Cyprus question, what would you like the European Union presidency to do during the next few months and what will be consequence of missing the May 1st deadline?

SG: I think I would want the European Union to encourage all the parties concerned to really garner the will, the political will, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We don’t have much time and if the talks were to resume they should come to the table with a very constructive posture and where possible very concrete ideas as to how we move forward.

I think some of you were at the previous press conference I gave that literally we have less than seventy days if we are going to try and resolve this issue before 1st of May. And therefore we need to try and break the back of the problem and have an understanding based on the plan I have on the table. Even if the parties were to negotiate changes to it, all this will have to be done by end of March for them to be able to have the simultaneous referenda in April to meet the 1st of May deadline. If that deadline is not met I think that part of the question I will defer to the Minister and the EU.

EU PRESIDENT : Well, thank you. There are two points I would make. First of all, to say that the Irish presidency will do everything it can to assist in this phase of the negotiations, which we hope can be resumed with the necessary political will and determination and obligation to succeed upon resumption. And secondly, as I say, we the European Union presidency believes that we wish to see the responsibility that’s on us all to successfully conclude these negotiations before enlargement if at all possible. That would be the best solution for everybody. It would be the best solution for all Cypriots, in our view, and we hope and wish well the initiative that is beginning to emerge and we hope it will bring about the successful conclusion we all hope to see. Okay? Thank you very much.