‘So­lu­tion will ben­e­fit both sides’ of Cyprus

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Well known busi­ness­man Photos Pho­ti­ades, founder of the Pho­ti­ades Group of drinks com­pa­nies, has ap­pealed to both com­mu­nity lead­ers to sit down be­fore en­ter­ing sub­stan­tial talks “and with a sound mind, de­ter­mine with all hon­esty what it is that would ben­e­fit all of the peo­ple of Cyprus, in the longer term.”

Ap­peal­ing to both Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and Mustafa Ak­inci, both of whom Pho­ti­ades be­lieves are gen­uine in their ef­fort to reach a set­tle­ment, he said that they should see the real ben­e­fits and prospects that Cyprus could have, af­ter a fair so­lu­tion.

Cyprus, he said, could play a cru­cial geostrate­gic role and through a so­lu­tion would gain the trust of the EU as a se­cure part­ner in the eastern Mediter­ranean and the Mid­dle East, es­pe­cially with coun­tries that Cyprus al­ready en­joys ex­cel­lent re­la­tions.

“As a hub, Cyprus could be­come the golden bridge be­tween EU mem­ber states and our neigh­bours and se­cure a lead­ing role for our small na­tion. This is a re­al­is­tic ap­proach and af­ter peace and sta­bil­ity set­tle in, Cyprus could be­come a sought-af­ter in­ter­na­tional busi­ness cen­tre for the whole trou­bled re­gion,” Pho­ti­ades said.

“Al­ready the Euro­pean Coun­cil’s Vice Pres­i­dent and High Com­mis­sioner for For­eign Af­fairs Fed­er­ica Mogherini high­lighted this fun­da­men­tal ad­van­tage that Cyprus has,” he said, adding that Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker “has re­peat­edly ex­pressed his open sup­port and his com­mit­ment to a gen­uine Euro­pean-based so­lu­tion.”

Pho­ti­ades added that when such a so­lu­tion is reached, Cyprus could also be recog­nised as an ideal place to host a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional, EU or UN or­gan­i­sa­tion, due to its prox­im­ity to the trou­bled area.

He said, how­ever, that such a so­lu­tion could only come from a vi­able so­lu­tion, with prom­ises for a safe fu­ture, based on Euro­pean prin­ci­ples and put an end to all sort of ad­ven­tures that Cyprus could oth­er­wise get into.

The vet­eran busi­ness­man, who set up the Carls­berg brew­ery in the early 1960s, said he has seen a lot of fear, dark­ness, in­sta­bil­ity and doubt all these years since in­de­pen­dence, with a so­lu­tion im­posed on Cypri­ots that led to the con­tin­ued pain and suf­fer­ing of both peo­ples.

“On the con­trary, a clear so­lu­tion with a vi­sion would al­low Cyprus to un­der­take and de­velop its own in­de­pen­dent role for the EU and its neigh­bours with the rel­e­vant re­wards,” Pho­ti­ades said, adding that the re­cent finds of hy­dro­car­bons could trans­form it into one of the rich­est na­tions in the world, with some ben­e­fits even trick­ling back to the two guar­an­tor pow­ers, Greece and Tur­key, in­stead of bur­den­ing them, as is the case to­day.

How­ever, he warned that the two lead­ers, as well as the Turk­ish Cypri­ots in gen­eral, “who are also vic­tims of the Turk­ish oc­cu­pa­tion”, should not dis­re­gard some his­tor­i­cal facts, such as the Ni­hat Erim plan de­vised in the 1950s for the com­plete oc­cu­pa­tion of the is­land, which con­sti­tute the pil­lars of Turk­ish pol­icy on the Cyprus is­sue.

“These re­ports con­tinue to be the ba­sis of Ah­met Davu­to­glu’s dogma, as ap­pears with fa­nati­cism in the ‘deep state’. For a proper so­lu­tion to the Cyprus prob­lem to get un­der­way, Tur­key must un­equiv­o­cally de­clare that it has aban­doned its am­bi­tions and with­draw its troops and set­tlers,” Pho­ti­ades said.

He added that the oc­ca­sional talk among Tur­key’s lead­ers for a quick so­lu­tion, even within 2015, is not ac­com­pa­nied by any spe­cific com­mit­ment for any with­drawal, which sug­gests that Tur­key wants a so­lu­tion based on its own terms.

“This is a golden op­por­tu­nity that should not be lost by the two com­mu­nity lead­ers. A so­lu­tion should en­sure full in­de­pen­dence and long-term se­cu­rity. This is the only way that all the res­i­dents of this is­land will even­tu­ally en­joy growth and pros­per­ity,” Pho­ti­ades con­cluded.

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