Switzerland ready to support talks on Cyprus
Nicosia, Feb 2 - Switzerland pledged that it stands ready to support talks on Cyprus for a just and lasting settlement establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
The statement was made today by the new resident Ambassador of Switzerland to Cyprus Ms. Marianne Engler, while presenting her credentials to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Noting that she is the first Ambassador of Switzerland with residence in Nicosia, Ms. Engler said the upgrading of the Swiss Embassy in Nicosia was long overdue.
“With Cyprus becoming a full member of the EU, the already existing excellent relations between our two countries have undergone an important qualitative development”, she said, adding that a series of 18 rather complex bilateral agreements which Switzerland has concluded with the EU is now also applicable to the Republic of Cyprus.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Ms. Engler remarked that “Switzerland would be more than happy to contribute to the efforts of the international community to settle the long-standing and unacceptable division of Cyprus”.
Noting that Switzerland respects the outcome of the referendum of April 2004, she said “we hope that not all is lost of the Plan for a comprehensive settlement worked out between 1999 and 2004. We also hope that in the not too distant future, time will come when the parties will be ready to sit again at the negotiation table with the determination to reach a just and lasting settlement establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Switzerland stands ready to support such efforts,” she added.
Replying, President Papadopoulos said the decision by the Swiss Federal Council to upgrade its diplomatic representation in Cyprus “is an indication of the progress in our relationship”.
Switzerland, although not a member of the EU, he also said, shares to the fullest the values and principles on which the European Union was built.
On the Cyprus problem, the President stressed that “despite our continuous efforts and genuine desire to reach a just and viable settlement, the Cyprus problem remains unresolved”.
He repeated the government’s commitment “to a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation that will bring about the reunification of Cyprus as a whole, in its true perspective, which includes reunification of the territory, the society, the economy and institutions”.
President Papadopoulos also pledged to “remain committed to working constructively for such a solution that will adequately address the legitimate interests and concerns of the people of Cyprus as a whole” and said “we are eagerly waiting for and pursue a new initiative from the Secretary-General of the United Nations to appoint his new Special Representative for Cyprus, as soon as possible, so as to prepare well the ground for the resumption of intercommunal talks, for the solution of the Cyprus problem”.
Referring to Turkey’s EU accession course, he said “we find it unacceptable that Turkey demands from Cyprus to give further concessions to Turkey before Turkey complies with and performs its own obligations towards European Union and the Republic of Cyprus; obligations which are clearly set out in the Negotiating Framework which Turkey has signed and accepted towards the European Union”.
Concluding, the President said the government has adopted, at a significant financial cost, supportive measures within the framework of the acquis communautaire and international law, with a view to the political and economic reintegration of Cyprus and the Turkish-Cypriots as citizens.