President's Main Aim is the Reunification of Cyprus
Athens, Mar 5 - On his first visit to Athens since taking over the Presidency, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias assured that his main aim is to lift the Turkish occupation of the island's northern third, restore human rights for all Cypriots and reach a just and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem in the framework of a bizonal bicommunal federation.
The excellent relations and close cooperation between Athens and Nicosia were reconfirmed during a meeting on Wednesday between the newly elected Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.
The two leaders agreed on the need to implement the UN-brokered agreement of July 8 2006, between the leaders of the two communities. Mr. Christofias and Mr. Karamanlis called on Turkey to abandon its intransigence and meet its EU obligations.
They also said that the Annan plan is null and void and stressed that a solution of the Cyprus issue should be based on UN resolutions and EU principles and underlined that the Turkish occupation forces must withdraw from Cyprus’ northern areas.
President Christofias expressed hope that the interest shown by the international community will be translated into influence on Turkey so that Ankara will revise its stubborn views and positions as regards a Cyprus settlement.
“Today’s meeting as a President with the Greek Premier was as usual very warm,” Mr. Christofias said, adding that the governments of the two countries will continue to work hard so as the very close relations will become even closer.
He briefed Prime Minister Karamanlis on the latest developments of the Cyprus problem and the meeting he is expected to have soon with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat, reiterating the Greek Cypriot side’s position that talks should aim at implementing the July 8 2006 Agreement, “the only signed agreement at this moment between the leaders of the two communities.”
He said he plans to honor the signature of his predecessor Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos and expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot leader will also honor his signature, noting that the meeting with Mr. Talat will aim to explore the intentions of the other side.
“Our hope is that during the meeting we will be able to announce the opening of the Ledra street crossing point in Nicosia with a view to open the Limnitis checkpoint, on the northwest,” Mr. Christofias said.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, the Cypriot President referred to Turkey’s decisive role as regards the prospect of a solution, adding: “It is an occupation force and at the end of the day an agreement must come from the Cypriots, provide for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupations troops, the termination of illegal settlement by Turkish settlers, the recognition of the rights of the refugees to return to their property and of course we must agree on a bizonal bicommunal federation, that will unite the people, the institutions and the economy.”
“We hope that during 2008 there will be a window of opportunity to achieve decisive progress towards a Cyprus settlement”, Mr. Karamanlis stated. He called on Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, to respond positively, showing a sincere will for cooperation and implement the additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement, which provides for the opening of its ports and airports to Cyprus.
“We expect Turkey’s full compliance with the acquis communautaire and we also expect that it will meet all its obligations towards the EU, so as to have a positive outcome in the country’s European course”, Mr. Karamanlis said.