Nicosia, October 3, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides favours the participation of the EU in a multipartite meeting on the Cyprus issue, as long as the two sides are within reach of an agreement, and points out the importance of preparing properly for such a meeting.
Addressing a public discussion in Nicosia, organised by the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus on the EU on the international scene, Kasoulides said it would be a pity for such a meeting to take place and fail, as this would be “the end of the road” for everything achieved so far.
Replying to questions, he said the EU was very interested in the efforts for a Cyprus settlement, and expressed hope that the leaders of the two communities would give a role to High Representative Federica Mogherini. Kasoulides said Mogherini was personally interested in becoming involved and helping.
Kasoulides noted that Nicosia wanted an EU involvement in a multipartite meeting, which would be “the culmination of the effort for the solution of the Cyprus problem”, adding that “it should be well prepared and the sides should be within reach of an agreement on the security issue before it takes place”.
The Minister also referred to the Eastern Mediterranean, expressing hope that it would develop into a flexible system of dialogue and cooperation, which would facilitate the peaceful resolution of differences and would promote the economic and political growth of the region.
Kasoulides said almost all countries cooperated under the table and this flexible body would permit them to sit around the table and discuss the security of the region.
He pointed out that Turkey still does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and thus this kind of cooperation would not be complete, as both Cyprus and Turkey had a role to play.
Kasoulides referred to Cyprus` dedication to its cooperation with Greece, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, beyond the political level, in the energy, business and cultural sectors.
He also referred to the involvement of the EU in the Eastern Mediterranean region, noting that it included security, anti-terrorism, and sustainable economic growth.
Regarding the relationship between the EU and Egypt, Kasoulides said it should not be seen exclusively through a human rights lens, and pointed out that Egypt was not a candidate for EU accession.
He referred to a selective approach, at the same time when Turkey is being treated with leniency and is given excuses for the violations in the country.
The event was also addressed by Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus George Markopouliotis. Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Elias Photopoulos and Head of the Jean Momnet Centre of Excellence Michalis Attalides also spoke at the event.
Photopoulos said cooperation with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, promoted by Athens and Nicosia, was gaining momentum, as these states shared the same principles, including their fight against terrorism.
The Ambassador also said that the EU could play a decisive role in the Cyprus issue, noting that Cyprus must stop being under occupation.
Photopoulos reaffirmed Greece`s unwavering support to efforts for a solution, which should be in line with UN resolutions and EU principles.
Referring to the refugee crisis, Photopoulos said it brought to light serious weaknesses, and that the readiness of the EU to address the issue was undermined by the absence of solidarity.
Attalides said the EU did not suffer from challenges but its inability to meet them, adding that Europe today needed a vision.
Markpouliotis said the EU continued to be the central pylon of world order, which provided security and stability, in the region and beyond.
He also referred to the refugee crisis, noting that the EU was in close cooperation with Turkey. Regarding the liberalisation of visas, he pointed out that Turkey had to meet certain criteria.
Source: Cyprus News Agency