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I don't accept to discuss internal aspects first and then wait for a Turkish move on security, Anastasiades says

I don't accept to discuss internal aspects first and then wait for a Turkish move on security, Anastasiades says
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday that he does not accept to discuss first the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem and then wait for Turkey to make a move on the issues of security and guarantees, under the pressure of the international community.

Responding to questions by journalists, after his televised statement, Anastasiades said that the Greek Cypriot side never had the position that the issues related to the  internal aspects of the Cyprus problem should close and the move on with an international Conference. He noted that it was the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who refused to discuss the four chapters interdependently and the territory issue.

"He claimed that there were going to be leaks and the Turkish Cypriot community would be upset, while at the same time he argued that the guarantees are not an issue which concerns the two communities but the three guarantor powers, and his was right abput this," Anastasiades added.

Asked about Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu`s statements at "Phileleftheros" daily, the President said that "all those which Turkey emphasized through its positive rhetoric during the last two years do not seem to respond to the reality" and recalled an article written by Cavusoglu and published on March 17, 2017 in Washington Post, in which the Turkish FM referred to the prerequisites for the Turkish side in order to discuss the issues of security and guarantees: the acceptance of the four freedoms for the Turkish citizens and to reach a conclusion on the issue of the Turkish Cypriots` effective participation.

Anastasiades said that the time of truth has come, the time to address all difficult issues, adding that this should be a common demand by all political parties.

In his interview, Cavusoglu said that Turkey’s military presence in Cyprus will continue, adding that the vast majority of the Turkish Cypriots would not support a political settlement without Ankara’s guarantees. In addition he claimed that the Greek Cypriots are not prepared to go the extra mile to reach a settlement.

He also claimed that Turks and Greeks must be treated equally in order to maintain an outside balance between the two countries, both of whom are guarantor powers (the UK is the third guarantor).

Responding to another question, Anastasiades said that it is he who raised the issue of security, adding that never before the issue of terminating the guarantees was put forward at the negotiating table, expect from the long-standing, firm position of every Cypriot government since 1974 that the Turkish army should leave the island.

This is the first time that the issue of terminating the guarantees was raised and for the time Turkey was present at a Conference to discuss this issue, he added.

He noted that the communique issued on January 12, 2017, in Geneva, where the Conference on Cyprus took place, noted that the security of one community cannot come at the expense of the security of the other. "Of couse Mr. Cavusoglu contradicts himself with what he has stated now," Anastasiades said.

Responding to another question, the President said that his proposal aims at achieving progress and  drafting an agenda that will allow the discussion of various issues with a view to reach an outcome. "The time has come that we must talk about results and not for mere progress," he added.

He noted that this is not the first time that there is a deadlock to the Cyprus problem, adding that the necessary representations will be made towards every direction with a view to have a new initiative, a new momentum on a base that will create the preconditions to reach a result.

He said it is not possible for him to accept anything that will lead nowhere at the end, just in order to avoid a deadlock, noting the need to be well prepared before going to Geneva again.

If there are no consultations with the guarantor powers and we reach a deadlock at the give and take process, then responsiblilities will be attributed to Anastasiades  for being intransigent due to the (forthcoming presidential) elections, the President said, noting that in this way Turkey will not carry the burden of responsibility in case it acts in a way that will make the Greek Cypriot side abstain from the dialogue and for violating the international law, when the Republic of Cyprus proceeds with its plans regarding its energy resources.

He went on to say that "we need to follow both the manoeuvres being made and the proposals submitted to achieve progress."

Asked if his proposal could be amended, Anastasiades said that the proposal he submitted aims at creating the conditions not only for progress but for a settlement of the Cyprus problem. He added that if his proposal is accepted then most probably it will yield results much sooner than expected.

"I do not accept to discuss or isolate the issues of the four chapters and later on discuss the issue of security waiting from the international community to exert pressure on Turkey," he noted

Anastasiades said that he never ruled out the dialogue and that it does not mean that the dialogue will stop if his positions are not accepted. He noted that he submitted a proposal which is fully consistent with the things which have been agreed and which can yield immediate results.

As regards Cyprus` energy plans, he said that the exercise of the Republic of Cyprus sovereign rights is not negotiable, noting  that the natural resources belong to all the people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

"The allocation of the resources will take place once a settlement is found," he noted, and added that he has repeatedly told his interlocutors that Turkish Cypriots should be interested in having hydrocarbon research and results so that everyone, including Turkey, has a motive to find a Cyprus settlement that will be beneficial for everyone.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof./IBNA

Source: Cyprus News Agency

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