Tur­key’s rhetoric must be put to test

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Tur­key’s rhetoric of its de­sire to reach a set­tle­ment in Cyprus will at last be tested in prac­tice if it adopts con­crete steps that will push the ne­go­ti­at­ing process and con­trib­ute to the cli­mate of hope pre­vail­ing in the is­land, Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades said in New York.

Ad­dress­ing the 70th ses­sion of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, Anas­tasi­ades said that what we as­pire is to reach a set­tle­ment that will leave nei­ther win­ners nor losers.

He said that reach­ing a so­lu­tion on the Cyprus prob­lem can be­come an ex­am­ple in the re­gion of how diplo­macy and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion can help re­solve even the most dif­fi­cult of con­flict, pre­vail­ing over mis­trust.

“Cyprus through its own ex­pe­ri­ence of host­ing the UN Peace­keep­ing Force in Cyprus greatly val­ues the UN con­tri­bu­tion to main­te­nance of peace and se­cu­rity,” Anas­tasi­ades said while giv­ing an up­date on the Cyprus ne­go­ti­a­tions and the new round of talks with Mustafa Ak­inci which started in May.

“Fol­low­ing the non-re­newal of [mar­itime ex­plo­ration] ac­tions which vi­o­lated the … sov­er­eign rights within its ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone, and the change in the lead­er­ship of the Turk­ish Cypriot com­mu­nity, a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity opened that re­vived our hope that the new round of ne­go­ti­a­tions which re­sumed in May will lead to the fi­nal set­tle­ment of the Cyprus prob­lem.”

He based his hope in his con­vic­tion that both he and the Turk­ish Cypriot leader “share the same po­lit­i­cal courage and re­solve to de­ci­sively move for­ward in or­der to ma­te­ri­alise the joint vi­sion of our peo­ple who de­sire a so­lu­tion through a vi­able, last­ing and func­tional set­tle­ment.”

De­scrib­ing the prin­ci­ples that should guide the so­lu­tion of the Cyprus prob­lem, Anas­tasi­ades stressed that the set­tle­ment should be in con­form­ity with the val­ues and prin­ci­ples of both the Char­ter of the United Na­tions and the EU ac­quis, the High Level Agree­ments be­tween the lead­ers of the two com­mu­ni­ties of 1977, 1979, as well as the Joint Dec­la­ra­tion of Fe­bru­ary 11, 2014.

The set­tle­ment, he added, should lead to the evo­lu­tion of the Re­pub­lic of Cyprus to a fed­eral state, in a bi­zonal, bi­com­mu­nal fed­er­a­tion with po­lit­i­cal equal­ity, a sin­gle sovereignty, a sin­gle in­ter­na­tional le­gal per­son­al­ity and a sin­gle cit­i­zen­ship, and a state that is and will con­tinue to be a mem­ber of the UN, the EU, and nu­mer­ous other in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions and whose sovereignty, ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and con­sti­tu­tional or­der will not be con­strained by anachro­nis­tic sys­tems of guar­an­tees by third coun­tries and the pres­ence of for­eign troops in the is­land.

“This set­tle­ment will leave nei­ther win­ners nor losers. It will take into ac­count the sen­si­tiv­i­ties and con­cerns of both com­mu­ni­ties and will re­spect the fun­da­men­tal free­doms and hu­man rights of all Cypri­ots, whether Greek or Turk­ish. It will re­unite the coun­try, its peo­ple, the econ­omy and in­sti­tu­tions. It will cre­ate a home­land of peace­ful co-ex­is­tence and pros­per­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween all of its cit­i­zens, for the ben­e­fit of the younger gen­er­a­tions. It will al­low Cyprus to utilise its full po­ten­tial by re­mov­ing all the po­lit­i­cal bar­ri­ers that pre­vent the full ex­ploita­tion of our unique ge­o­graph­i­cal po­si­tion at the cross­roads of Europe, North Africa, the Mid­dle East and Asia. It will trans­form Cyprus into a shin­ing ex­am­ple of the eth­nic, cul­tural, re­li­gious and lin­guis­tic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Chris­tian and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties. And it will turn Cyprus into a model-coun­try of re­li­a­bil­ity, sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in what is now a very tur­bu­lent and volatile re­gion, char­ac­terised by pro­tracted con­flicts and in­sta­bil­ity.”

Anas­tasi­ades told the Gen­eral Assem­bly that dur­ing this new ne­go­ti­at­ing round, progress has been achieved in a num­ber of is­sues and that on other sub­stan­tive is­sues there are sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences that need to be re­solved.

“Dif­fer­ences that, in or­der to be re­solved, would also re­quire Tur­key’s ac­tive and de­ter­mined con­tri­bu­tion, con­sid­er­ing that its oc­cu­pa­tion forces still re­main in the north­ern part of our coun­try.”

Re­fer­ring to the dis­cov­ery of hy­dro­car­bons in the re­gion, he said: “The dis­cov­ery in Eastern Mediter­ranean has the po­ten­tial to cre­ate syn­er­gies and a grid of al­liances for broader co­op­er­a­tion be­tween hy­dro­car­bon-pro­duc­ing and hy­dro­car­bon­con­sum­ing coun­tries of that area and be­yond to the ben­e­fit of their so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment and the wel­fare of our peo­ple. Such pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments can foster the achieve­ment and main­te­nance of a much needed en­vi­ron­ment of sta­bil­ity and peace in the re­gion.”

He sug­gested, in or­der to re­verse these wor­ry­ing de­vel­op­ments the need to tackle po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity and eco­nomic in­se­cu­rity, so that all those coun­tries and re­gions in the con­flict zones, and in par­tic­u­lar the Mid­dle East and North Africa, are turned into places in which sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment is a re­al­ity.

“We should di­rect our ef­forts to­wards the en­ablers of ter­ror­ism. It is not enough to res­cue peo­ple from sink­ing boats. We should di­rect our ef­forts against traf­fick­ers. It is not enough to fi­nan­cially sup­port the eco­nomic im­mi­grants. We should di­rect our ef­forts in cre­at­ing those po­lit­i­cal and so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions that would al­low all those peo­ple not to mi­grate from their coun­tries.”

Mean­while, gov­ern­ment sources ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion over the out­come of a meet­ing ear­lier in the day be­tween US Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and Anas­tasi­ades.

The meet­ing took place in a very friendly at­mos­phere and fo­cused on re­cent de­vel­op­ments in the Cyprus re­uni­fi­ca­tion talks and energy is­sues, the sources said, ac­cord­ing to the Cyprus News Agency.

Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades is said to have asked the United States’ help in mat­ters per­tain­ing to guar­an­tees, the armed forces, the four free­doms and on fund­ing the so­lu­tion to the Cyprus prob­lem.

The im­por­tance of Cyprus’ role as a US strate­gic part­ner, was ac­knowl­edged on the part of Bi­den, sources pointed out, while Anas­tasi­ades also had a meet­ing in New York with Noble Energy’s CEO.

In a sep­a­rate meet­ing, Anas­tasi­ades and Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras re­con­firmed that co­op­er­a­tion on the Cyprus prob­lem and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion is cen­tral to both of their coun­tries’ for­eign poli­cies.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, Tsipras met Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah al-Sisi, with whom Anas­tasi­ades had met on Mon­day. It is ex­pected that the Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent will visit Greece soon, as the next tri­par­tite meet­ing be­tween Greece, Cyprus and Egypt will take place in Athens, for which the three for­eign min­is­ters will meet on Oc­to­ber 1.

Energy is­sues, Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades’ ini­tia­tives on the Mid­dle East, as well as the prepa­ra­tion of the forth­com­ing tri­par­tite meet­ing in Athens were the sub­jects dis­cussed be­tween the Pres­i­dents of Cyprus and Egypt. Gov­ern­ment spokesman Ni­cos Christodoulides said that the first is­sue on the agenda were energy de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion fol­low­ing the re­cent gas dis­cov­er­ies within the Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone (EEZ) of Egypt.

He noted that the two Pres­i­dents share the com­mon belief that an even stronger co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Cyprus and Egypt in the field of energy would yield ben­e­fits to both the re­gion and the two coun­tries.

“An on­go­ing di­a­logue is un­der­way and it is ex­pected to be en­hanced” he added.

Anas­tasi­ades also briefed his Egyp­tian coun­ter­part on the trip he is plan­ning in Jor­dan and Palestine and pos­si­bly in some other coun­tries in the re­gion.

As re­gards the tri­par­tite meet­ing, the Gov­ern­ment Spokesman said that the meet­ing at the level of the Heads of State of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt is be ex­pected to be held in Athens.

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