Reunification of Cyprus will open new prospects for shipping sector, President tells shipowners
A solution of the Cyprus problem will open new prospects for ships flying the Cypriot flag, President Nicos Anastasiades said in his address to the dinner hosted by the Cyprus Ship-Owners Association at the Presidential Palace on Monday.
Anastasiades spoke of the ongoing talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci which aim to reunify the island under a federal roof.
He pointed out that “it is well known than Turkey, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, has imposed an embargo on vessels under the flag of Cyprus in Turkish ports.”
Consequently, a solution to the Cyprus problem will open new prospects for the ships flying the Cypriot flag, he added.
So far, he said, significant progress has been made in the talks, noting however that there are also hurdles “which we try, nevertheless, to address having as a basis the European acquis and the fact that Cyprus is an EU member state.”
President Anastasiades then emphasised that “our objective is of course to be free from the occupation army, to reunify the country on the basis of a federal structure – as has been previously agreed, bizonal, bicommunal - but with strong powers for the central government and, most importantly, by safeguarding human rights.”
He expressed the hope that “our efforts will succeed, particularly if Turkey, which continues to be the occupying country, also contributes to this end.”
“We will continue this effort with determination”, he stressed, adding that the status quo is “unacceptable.”
At the welcoming reception in Limassol on Sunday, Anastasiades said that shipping companies continue to trust Cyprus as the base of their operations, despite the economic crisis and that the maritime industry continues to play a significant role in the country’s economic recovery.
He pledged that the government will do everything possible to develop the sector further and address modern challenges successfully.
The President referred to statistical data showing that the Cypriot economy has returned to growth in the first half of 2015. “In this, I recognise the important contribution of the shipping industry,” he noted.
“Our country is considered one of the top maritime centres, since it ranks among the first three in the EU and is the tenth largest worldwide.
“A key factor for this is the cooperation between the public and the private sector,” the President concluded.
During the event, President Anastasiades awarded Koji Sekimizu, the outgoing Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation, an honorary plaque for his contribution in promoting the goals of the shipping sector.