On Tuesday (17 November) Federal Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier urged the Cypriot parties to the conflict to maintain the “positive momentum” of the negotiations and not to squander the “historic chance” of reunification for the divided island.
During his visit to the Republic of Cyprus on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Steinmeier met President Nicos Anastasiades, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis and Turkish‑Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı for consultations.
Sensitive stage of the negotiation process
Steinmeier’s visit to Cyprus comes at a sensitive time. The negotiations on Cyprus, conducted under the aegis of the United Nations, have regained momentum and are currently progressing with high intensity after many years of stalemate. Germany and the EU are doing everything they can to support the process.
Following his meeting with Foreign Minister Kasoulidis, Steinmeier encouraged the negotiators to now bring the talks to their conclusion “with the necessary drive, the necessary ambition and the necessary tenacity”.
Making the most of a historic window of opportunity
Steinmeier particularly praised the prudent way in which the Greek and Turkish Cypriots were conducting the negotiations. Yet he also warned the parties not to waste the “historic window of opportunity” that was opening up, as it would not return in a hurry.
He said that through his visit he wanted to “show solidarity with all the efforts of the parties to leave the conflicts of the past behind them”. Steinmeier also declared Germany’s willingness to contribute experience gleaned from its own reunification process to the talks between the two sides.
In the evening, Steinmeier also met the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II, as well as Muslim Grand Mufti Talip Atalay. According to participants, the talks were dominated by an atmosphere of deep trust.
Another focus of the Cyprus trip was the further development of bilateral relations, for example, in the areas of tourism and renewable energy sources. Other items on the agenda were refugee policy as well as the situation in Syria and the fight against the terrorist organisation ISIS.