By Kyriacos Kyriacou-Nicosia
The international community welcomed today the renewal of negotiations on a Cyprus settlement, under the auspices of the United Nations and expressed support to the joint statement agreed by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders Nicos Anastasiades and Dervish Eroglu. President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, along with Britain, US, France and Denmark commented over the restart of Cyprus peace talks.
The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third. A meeting earlier today in Nicosia between the two community leaders, Cyprus, marked the resumption of the stalled UN-led peace talks. The negotiators of the two sides will meet later this week to begin their discussions, with a view at finding a mutually acceptable agreement that will be put to separate referenda.
Nicos Anastasiades is expected to speak tomorrow at a press conference about the joint statement, which is based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality.
Barack Obama congratulates
President Obama and the United States welcomed the meeting of the two Cypriot leaders and the renewal of negotiations on a Cyprus settlement under the auspices of the United Nations. According to a statement by US Press Secretary, “the Joint Statement agreed by the two leaders reflects a spirit of compromise and lays a solid foundation for results-oriented talks. The United States congratulates the two leaders for the courage and vision that enabled them to reach agreement on this important statement, which embodies key principles to guide their further work”.
The United States also welcomed the constructive role played in this effort by Turkey and Greece, led by Prime Minister Erdogan and Prime Minister Samaras, as well as other international parties. “The division of Cyprus has endured for far too long. Through a settlement, both communities can realize their full potential, with enhanced stability and economic prosperity for all the people of the island. We encourage the sides to work expeditiously to resolve the outstanding core issues and achieve a settlement that reunifies Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation at the earliest possible time”, said the statement and added: “The United States reaffirms its support for the exercise of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and develop the resources in its off-shore zones. We continue to believe that the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement. We underscore the importance of upholding peace and security in and around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean. The United States urges all parties to avoid any threats or other actions or statements that escalate tension”.
Barroso and Van Rompuy
In a written statement Barroso and Van Rompuy said the Joint Declaration, laid a solid foundation for resumption of negotiations for a fair and viable comprehensive settlement of the long-standing Cyprus problem.
“This Joint Declaration should help them to swiftly address matters of substance and to achieve rapid results in the negotiations,” the statement said. Barroso and Van Rompuy congratulated and saluted “the courage the two leaders have shown in agreeing it”.
The two EU leaders also said that at the time of accession of Cyprus, the European Union declared its readiness to accommodate the terms of a settlement in line with the principles on which the Union is founded.
David Cameron: “Important step forward”
Britain also said today it was following developments in Cyprus and was ready to provide its support to the settlement process.
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the agreement to restart talks, calling it “an important step forward.” “It provides a real opportunity to secure a lasting and comprehensive settlement and I applaud President Anastasiades and Dr Eroglu for the courage they have shown by agreeing to restart talks. Their continued pragmatism and willingness to find a solution will be vital in the months ahead to ensure that the reunification of Cyprus becomes a reality. We will continue to fully support all Cypriots in their shared aim of a unified and prosperous island,” added Cameron.
Support from France
France has assured it will lend its support to the negotiations, conducted under UN auspices, at a national level as well as within the European Union and the UN Security Council and calls on all parties to adopt a constructive attitude in order to reach a solution.
The statement was made by Romain Nadal, Spokesman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs during today`s daily briefing.
France, he said, “commends the efforts that have made this possible, and reaffirms that the forthcoming negotiations, initiated on the basis of this joint declaration, should lead to an agreement in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the principles on which the European Union is founded”.
Ban Ki-moon pledged determination
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus for their commitment to resume negotiations, and pledged the UN’s determination in the two communities to move on from decades of separation.
Ban thanked Alexander Downer, who has announced he would step down from his post as Special Adviser on Cyprus to the Secretary General.
He commended “the leaders for their commitment to resuming negotiations and for their hard work in the past months to reach what is an important statement of shared principles and invaluable basis for renewed talks”.
Denmark urges to seize the moment
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard has urged both parties in Cyprus to seize the current moment in order to create a more stable and prosperous future for generations to come, noting the current situation is unsustainable.
In a statement, Lidegaard said he welcomes the “decision in Nicosia today to re-launch peace negotiations in Cyprus”, noting the division of Cyprus “is entering its fifth decade with negative consequences for all Cypriots as well as for regional stability and cooperation. This situation is unsustainable”.
Tayyip Erdogan: “No backpedalling”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was upbeat about the resumption of talks. “We are heading toward a new process in Cyprus. God willing, there will be no backpedalling and we will solve the Cyprus problem,” Erdogan said today.