By Kyriacos Kyriacou-Nicosia
The joint declaration, agreed with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervish Eroglou to restart peace talks for the unification of divided island, does not constitute the solution but it lays down the fundamental principles and the framework within which the talks will move towards the search of a solution, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades stressed on Wednesday night.
Speaking at a press conference to inform the public at large about the provisions of the joint declaration, the President outlined and explained in detail the parameters agreed with Dervis Eroglu, pointing out that the agreed text meets the sensitivities and the objectives of the Greek Cypriot side, without sidelining the concerns of the Turkish Cypriot side.
In his introductory remarks, addressing the island’s political leadership, he said he fully respects different opinions but called on all political leaders to respond to the common wish of all Greek Cypriots and “join forces to address what is to follow because it is well known that the joint declaration is only the beginning of a painstaking effort in order to achieve our country’s reunification”.
As soon as possible
Addressing the Turkish Cypriots, he assured them that it is his sincere intention and wish to resolve the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, in a way which will restore the human rights and the fundamental freedoms for all the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. “The solution must have no winners and no losers. It must not provide the possibility for either side to dominate the other. It must make it possible for everyone to co-exist, create together and prosper in a modern European state,” the President stressed.
The two sides, he said, were able to agree on a joint declaration on February 11, after strenuous efforts over the past six months. The declaration, he added, “without ignoring the other side’s concerns, satisfies our objectives and sensitivities”.
Objectives “completely achieved”
Responding to questions by the Greek Cypriot media, Anastasiades stated that the Greek Cypriot side has “completely achieved” its objectives through the common declaration.
“I had stated that in order to engage in a dialogue, the basic principles that constitute the components of every internationally recognized state, needed to be clarified” the President said, referring to the agreement to securing for the future unified state a single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship.
He dismissed in this regard various interpretations of the agreement, saying “they always existed and will continue to exist”. He noted that the points in the agreed text of the common declaration are clear, preventing any side of going back to them.
President Anastasiades further said that he will not comment on statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervish Eroglu, noting that he is rather focused on forthcoming discussions at the negotiations’ table. He reiterated that the future state will be a continuation of the existing Republic of Cyprus, with the common declaration acknowledging that the United Cyprus will be a UN and EU member.
On Greece’s role in the process, the President of Cyprus noted that Athens will have a supportive counseling role, noting in parallel that it is not Greece that occupies Cyprus, but Turkey. He referred finally to the exchange of visits, the negotiators of the two sides are expected to have soon in Athens and Ankara respectively, noting that this was a permanent position of the Greek Cypriot side to be able to talk with Turkey.
On another question concerning the involvement of the international community in the process, the President said that the role of the EU, the US and other countries, like Russia, France and Germany is supportive. However, he added, the process is under the auspices of the UN. He also said that that a Cyprus solution will have a stabilizing effect in the region, creating new prospects for unresolved differences.
Negotiators meet tomorrow
The negotiators of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Kudret Ozersay, are scheduled to meet Friday morning with the UN team dealing with the Cyprus peace talks. At tomorrow’s meeting, the negotiators are set to discuss the agenda of the talks and the way they intend to work during their meetings.
The resumption of the UN-led talks is the result of lengthy discussions over the past several months between the negotiators of the two sides. The Republic of Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, is a full member state of the European Union since 2004.