Cyprus President: We will continue efforts for the implementation of our proposals
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has stressed that despite the Turkish side’s denial to accept proposals put forward by him, in the framework of the ongoing negotiations aiming to solve the Cyprus problem, the Greek Cypriot side will continue, in coordination with Greece, to work for their implementation.
Christofias called on Turkey to make positive steps regarding the international aspects of the Cyprus problem and help Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu to proceed at the negotiating table with proposals providing for a federal settlement, adding that Turkey will then be surprised ”how decisively and instantly we will proceed to a mutually acceptable and agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem.”
In his speech during the opening ceremony of the 23rd Conference of the Executive Councils of the World Federation for Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) and of the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA), and the 5th Annual Conference of the World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK), Christofias said that the message that Turkey has a decisive role to play in the settlement of the Cyprus problem must be sent out. “That is why the international community – and especially the countries which have close relations with Turkey- must turn to her and exert their influence and pressure so that she works for a settlement on the basis of the UN resolutions and the High Level Agreements,” he said.
Cyprus President underlined that it is also important to give out the message that “we are working for a settlement that will constitute a win-win situation for everyone, including Turkey. We are fully aware of the fact that the settlement of the Cyprus problem will constitute a positive development for the international political arena,” he said, adding that the reunited Federal Republic of Cyprus and all of the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins have to be the ones that will benefit more than anyone else from the settlement of the problem.
“Our aim is that the United Federal Republic of Cyprus will constitute a solid ground on which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will construct their common future and at the same time each community will be able, in the framework of a federation, to govern one of its component parts and develop its own cultural, religious and language identity,” he added.
“We will continue to work for the implementation of this life goal with consistency and devotion, having your own support and help,” Christofias assured.
Referring to the ongoing negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, which started in September 2008, Christofias noted that they resumed from the point they were left before the so-called elections in Cyprus Turkish occupied areas, as a result of which Dervis Eroglu succeeded Mehmet Ali Talat at the Turkish Cypriot leadership.
“We are currently discussing the issue of properties. There are a lot of differences between the two sides’ positions, and prospects for bridging them are not encouraging if we take into consideration the negative messages sent by Mr. Eroglu and Turkey through their daily statements, and also the overall stance and behaviour of the Turkish side. With his statements, Eroglu in fact reveals his real intentions as regards the Cyprus settlement,” Christofias said.
He noted that “our response to Eroglu’s stance is to insist at the compromise for a bizonal, bicommunal federation to which the two communities are committed since 1977. We strongly believe that any effort to question the federal settlement must not lead to thoughts for abandoning it, but, on the contrary, it must enhance our commitment and consistency to it.”
Christofias also stressed the need for unity in the domestic front and assured that despite any difficulties and problems at the negotiations “we are not going to abandon them.”
“Remaining committed and consistent to the agreed negotiating basis, we will continue to proceed to the negotiating table which reflects the will of each side to achieve a settlement. Actions constitute the criterion of the truth, irrelevant of declarations and statements on the Cyprus problem,” the President said.
He added that both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side as well as Turkey, which has a crucial role to play in the settlement of the Cyprus problem, “must be judged from their actions and proposals, the content of which must address the fundamental issue: Do they serve the agreed basis for a settlement providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as provided by the UN relevant resolutions for one state with a single and undivided sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single personality, or do they serve and aim at something else?”
“Through this objective comparison the international community must evaluate the positions of each side,” Christofias said, adding that the positions submitted so far by each side at the negotiations reveal each side’s intentions. “An objective observer can draw some safe conclusions with regard to which side is sincerely working for a reunification settlement, in the framework of a federation and which side is working for something else,” he added.
Furthermore he stressed that the positions submitted by the Greek Cypriot side at the negotiating table are fully in line with the agreed basis for a settlement and are based on the UN resolutions, the international and European law and the international convention for human rights.
“Our proposals are based on principles and are realistic”, he said, adding that they take into consideration the reasonable concerns of the two communities and aim at a just settlement, under the circumstances, that will be viable and functional.
He noted the Greek Cypriot side’s constructive stance at the negotiations and assured that “we will continue to work” in this way.
He said that a tangible proof of the Greek Cypriot side’s will for a settlement are the three proposals he submitted aiming at speeding up the negotiations and creating a new momentum in efforts to achieve a settlement.
Christofias stressed that “our proposals offer some advantages and that is why the international community has made some positive comments on them. They are balanced and realistic and, as the Greek Prime Minister has said, ‘they bring Cyprus back to the forefront’”, he noted.
As the President said these proposals “provide for roles, motives and benefits for all those involved in the Cyprus question” and address, in a tangible way, certain issues as the speeding up of the negotiations, the best possible handling of the issue of properties, the prospects for Turkey’s EU accession course, the development of the Turkish Cypriot community’s relations with the EU, without violating the Republic of Cyprus sovereignty and the international and European legality.
“They promote prospects for settling the international aspects of the Cyprus problem – which include the issues of guarantees and security, the presence of foreign troops at the Republic of Cyprus as well as the presence of illegal settlers – through the convention of an international conference under the UN aegis when the two sides will come close to a settlement,” he said.
Christofias expressed regret over the fact that the Turkish side has rejected the Greek Cypriot side’s proposals, adding that this rejection shows once again that the Turkish side continues to hold a negative stance and has done nothing in practice to achieve a settlement, despite declaring that it pursues a settlement by the end of the year.
He noted that statements by Turkish leaders that they urgently want a settlement by the end of this year are aiming to mislead the international community and added that the Turkish side has been launching threats for B plans which provide for a new fait accomplis.
He described statements by Eroglu that if negotiations reach a deadline each one will follow its way as unacceptable, and noted that the positions of the Turkish side on the issue of properties and its denial to associate the issue of properties with the territorial issue and the issues of migration, citizenship, foreigners and asylum raise the question of whether the Turkish side is aiming at reaching a deadlock with a view to implement the new fait accompli pursued by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership.
Christofias assured that overseas Cypriots will continue to constitute a priority of the government’s policy and that the government will continue to fervently support their actions.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.