Statements by President Christofias at ceremony in which he received the credentials of the new High Commissioner of the United Kingdom
Nicosia, May 6 – The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Christofias, received the credentials of the new High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, Mr. John Christopher William Kidd, at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, May 6.
Replying to the statement of the UK High Commissioner presenting his credentials, President Christofias said, inter alia, the following: “Upon my election to the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus, I had undertaken initiatives towards the reunification of this country.
After the necessary preparatory work, together with the then Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Talat, under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General's Good Offices, we mutually agreed to the basis of the negotiations, as set out in the two joint communiqués of 23 May and 1 July 2008.
It was agreed that the solution would provide for a bizonal, bicommunal, federation, with political equality as set out in the respective Security Council resolutions, with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality. Allow me at this point to recall that the 2008 MoU, signed between our two countries, is evidence that we share the common desire for a comprehensive and durable settlement of the Cyprus problem on the above mentioned basis and the principles upon which the EU is founded.
It was also agreed that the negotiation procedure would be for the Cypriots and by the Cypriots, without artificial timetables and arbitration, aimed at finding a mutually agreed and acceptable solution, to be put forward for approval by the two communities of Cyprus in simultaneous and separate referenda.
For 18 months, together with Mr Talat, we had worked on the basis of this framework, making progress on some important aspects of the Cyprus problem. It had been hoped that more progress could have been achieved. It had been hoped that during these 18 months more convergences could have been reached on the various chapters of the negotiations. It had been hoped that Mr Talat would have been more forthcoming in some of his proposals, while keeping in mind the true interests of all Cypriots: Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins. Unfortunately, Mr Talat was not autonomous, nor flexible, being under the thumb of Turkey, which oft-led to unconstructive positions submitted by the Turkish side.
However, we must look forward and the positive elements of our work together have to be maintained.
We await to see the positions of Mr Talat's successor, Mr Eroglu, who is now at the helm of the Turkish Cypriot community. It is hoped that now that Mr Eroglu has the responsibility of representing the Turkish Cypriot community at the negotiation table, and despite indications to the contrary, he will retract from his oft-declared and long-held belief in the existence of 'two peoples' and 'two separate states', which would create a new partnership in the form of a loose confederation.
It should be noted that Mr Eroglu won as a result of the illegal settler vote. I take this opportunity to underline that the transfer by Turkey, the occupation force, of parts of its own civilian population to the occupied areas of Cyprus, as well as the continued presence of settlers, is in violation of international law, including inter alia the 1949 Geneva Convention and its 1977 Additional Protocol I.
In spite of our concerns, we await constructive proposals by Mr Eroglu, a reaffirmation of the agreed basis, as well as a continuation of the negotiations in the framework of the same procedure, from the point they were interrupted in March 2010. Turkey's role is all-important, as per last December's Conclusions of the European Council. Ankara has a critical role and must also play a constructive one, based on the UN resolutions and the principles and values of the European Union. We reiterate the call of the European Union on Turkey to work towards a solution, and not merely play lip-service, as it has been doing to the present day.
Turkey has to prove that it wants to solve the Cyprus problem, that it respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, which it still violates by its occupation and continued colonization of Cyprus with Turkish settlers. It must also give the new Turkish Cypriot leader the green light for effective negotiations for a real reunified, federal Cyprus.
Furthermore, Turkey's course of becoming a member of the EU cannot remain unaffected and unhampered, if its intransigence, provocative stance and its refusal to meet its obligations continue. These obligations include the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the implementation of the Ankara Protocol to all EU member states, including the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods and restrictions on means of transport.
Turkey must fulfill all the obligations that it has undertaken, as well as actively and positively contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem. It is not in the interest of Turkey to continue with policies which cause grave problems both for itself but also the European Union, since this has resulted in the freezing of a large number of Ankara's accession chapters.
A solution to the Cyprus problem is in the interest of all: For Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots as they will be able to witness, at long last, the reunification of their country and the opening of new horizons for development, progress, prosperity and security. For Turkey, whose European prospects will be aided by meeting its EU obligations, a vast number of which emanate from its lack of real efforts towards the reunification of Cyprus. For the European Union, for the international community, for all involved directly or indirectly as stability and peace returns to the Eastern Mediterranean. This is my vision, a vision shared by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. I hope both Mr Eroglu, but also the Turkish Government, will seize the political courage, to help make this vision a reality, for the benefit of all.”