President Christofias: Turkey has to change stance to reach solution by December
Nicosia, Aug 24 – The President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Demetris Christofias has stressed that Turkey has to change its stance, by terminating the occupation of Cyprus’ northern part and by respecting the human rights of the Cypriot people, if it wants a solution of the Cyprus problem by December.
In his address at the annual meeting of Cypriots abroad, President Christofias conveyed a message to those who have “already begun to exert pressure on the Greek Cypriot side,” to instead exert pressure on Turkey so that Ankara cooperates in efforts to reach a solution in Cyprus.
The President was addressing the opening ceremony of the 16th Annual Conference of the Central Council of the World Federation for Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA), and the Conference of the Executive Council of the World Organization for Young Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK), which was held in Nicosia, from 24-28 August.
Referring to the ongoing UN-led direct negotiations which began September 3, 2008, between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat with the aim of finding a political settlement, President Christofias said that on September 3, 2009, the second round of negotiations will begin.
During the first round of talks he said, “convergence has been achieved in some issues,” while serious deviations and disagreements regarding other issues still remain. “We have already stated that we are not satisfied with the progress achieved so far. We had expected more results. We do not agree with those who are pessimistic, nor do we agree with those who say that there has been great progress.”
President Christofias added that “important work has been done, on which we will base our hard effort to pave the way for the solution. We will continue this effort, based on the principles of the solution, as outlined in the relevant UN resolutions on Cyprus, international and European law as well as the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979. We will continue this effort with determination but also with flexibility, as we have been doing so far.”
The President of the Republic urged political leaders in Cyprus as well as overseas Cypriots to be united “during this difficult attempt. Time is very important for our cause. It is time to intensify our contacts and information about the real developments at the Cyprus talks,” he said.
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader, he went on to say, “appear, for their own reasons, hyper-optimistic. Instead of changing route and synchronizing their steps with ours, having as their compass the High Level Agreements, UN resolutions, international law and human rights Conventions, they arbitrarily interpret historic facts, the UN role and efforts for a solution in order to justify the continuing Turkish occupation of Cyprus, the influx of illegal Turkish settlers to Cyprus and to justify - as new realities - the unacceptable faits accomplis they have created.”
The President of the Republic said that “unfortunately there are some in the EU and the international community, who back these Turkish efforts.”
“Turkey and its friends are trying once more to impose false timeframes, having December as a landmark. They even try to bring again to the negotiating process arbitration. These two cannot be accepted by us,” he stressed. President Christofias underlined that if Turkey wants a solution by December, it has to change its stance.
He added that “if the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey agree on such a solution, we are ready to conclude even before December. If not, we will not accept a solution for the sake of a solution, just to serve the interests and goals of Turkey and any of its friends.”
“Turkey must terminate the occupation as well as its policy of bringing illegal settlers to the island. It has to acknowledge the inalienable rights of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins. Turkey’s friends in Europe and elsewhere must advise Ankara to do so,” he stressed.
“I would like to clarify the following. First of all, we pursue and we struggle for a solution the soonest possible,” he stressed, adding “we acknowledge that the solution will be a compromise, but it has to be based on principles and it has to restore human rights and fundamental freedoms for all the people of Cyprus, to be viable and able to stand the test of time.”
“Second,” he added, “we pursue a solution that would lead to the termination of the Turkish occupation and the reunification of Cyprus, its territory, its people, its institutions, its economy in the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation”.
The President pointed out that the solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as outlined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions for a federal Cypriot state, with one and only sovereignty, one identity and a single international personality, is the agreed basis on which current Cyprus negotiations are taking place.
“Third, the achievement of a solution to the Cyprus problem needs the cooperation of all parties involved,” he said, adding that for the achievement of a solution, apart from the initiatives that have to be undertaken by both communities, Turkey’s cooperation is also needed.
“Without Turkey’s cooperation, there can be no solution. What we constantly ask of the international community is to turn to Turkey and exert its pressure so that Ankara cooperates for a solution,” he stressed.
President Christofias said that Turkey has to realize that by cooperating for a solution to the Cyprus problem, it would first of all help itself to fulfill its EU aspirations. Clarifying that the Republic of Cyprus supports Turkey’s EU prospects, President Christofias noted that this support “is not offered without terms or demands.”
“In view of the evaluation of Turkey’s accession course, next December, the EU has to demand the fulfillment of all obligations Ankara has undertaken,” the Cypriot President said, adding that this is a token of solidarity among member states and especially towards Cyprus.
President Christofias noted that the government of the Republic of Cyprus is in close cooperation with the government of Greece with which they coordinate their moves ahead of the December EU Council, and expressed Cyprus’ gratitude towards Greece for its “unwavering support and unreserved solidarity it offers to our struggle for justice.”