News Local Two sides very close to implementing mobile telephone link across Green Line

Two sides very close to implementing mobile telephone link across Green Line

Linking mobile phone systems across the Green Line is among the issues expected to be discussed during the separate meetings which the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, will have on Wednesday with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci.

The measures is one of several confidence building measures under discussion.

Spehar is due to travel to New York on July 12  where she will brief the UN Security Council on July 12  in view of the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate at the end of July.

Anastasiades and Akinci had decided during an informal meeting on February 26 the implementation of a series of CBMs, among which is mobile phone interoperability through separate agreements of the operators on both sides with a hub based in Europe, in order to facilitate greater interaction between the two communities.

The two sides are reportedly much closer now to the implementation of the mobile telephony CBM after developments in the Turkish Cypriot side with regard to the pricing, so that the cost will not be prohibitive.

The same sources said that the cost issue is dealt by the operators and the hub – telecommunications company Comfone which is based in Switzerland – adding that they are the ones responsible for the technical preparations required for the implementation of the measure.

CNA has learned that the aim, especially on the part of the UN Mission to Cyprus, was to have this measure implemented in June, so that this development would be written down in the UNSG’s report on UNFICYP. The report, due to come out on July 10, is now expected to take note of the progress made towards the implementation of the measure.

The same sources also stressed that even though the Turkish actions in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone have not played any role as regards the delay of the implementation of the mobile telephone CBM, however the fact that these actions do not contribute to the creation of a good climate cannot be ignored.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.  Turkey issued in May a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3.

Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s northeastern coast on Monday. Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted by state-owned Anadolu news agency on Saturday as saying the Yavuz drillship would start drilling within a week.

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has strongly condemned Turkey’s new attempt to illegally conduct drilling operations in the east of Cyprus, close to the Karpasia peninsula, within the Territorial Sea of the Republic.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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