Cyprus will exhaust all legal means to stop Turkey’s provocations, Defence Minister says

The Republic of Cyprus will exhaust all legal means provided by international law and will make representations to all world organisations and strategic partners, in order to stop Turkey questioning its sovereign rights, Minister of Defence Charalambos Petrides has said.

 

Addressing the online ceremony of the World Conference of Overseas Cypriots, Petrides said Cyprus’ capabilities, apart from the military, are continuously expanding into diplomacy, cooperation, the economy, energy, and culture, creating strong relationships with other countries, with an aim to achieve stability, growth, prosperity and a heightened sense of security for the citizens.

 

He said the regional environment was becoming more and more complicated with terrorism, threats, migration, the conflicts in Syria and Libya, and Turkey’s aggressive stance against Cyprus and Greece. Additionally, the rapid developments in the energy sector create a serious factor which could determine the outcome of security in an equation, he added.

 

Petrides said Cyprus’ policy was focusing on national security, defence and security within the EU, and defensive diplomacy.

 

Over the past few years, Cyprus has been following a diplomatic path ensuring good neighbourly relations with countries in the region, he said, pointing out that the only discord was Turkey.

 

Petrides pointed out that Cyprus has been expanding cooperation on a bilateral, trilateral and multilateral level with an aim to solve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island, through solution that is compatible with international and European law, without guarantees and foreign troops.

 

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

 

UN Secretary – General, Antonio Guterres, appointed in the summer of 2018 senior American UN official Jane Holl Lute in order to conduct consultations with all parties of the Conference on Cyprus. Lute visited Cyprus several times and met Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, with a view to clinch an agreement on the Terms of Reference that would lead to the resumption of the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement. To that end she also held contacts with the three guarantor powers, namely the UK, Greece and Turkey.

 

After a tripartite meeting, in Berlin, on November 25 2019, among Guterres, Anastasiades and Akinci, the UN Secretary – General issued a statement saying that he agreed to extend his efforts to achieve terms of reference to serve as a consensus starting point for phased, meaningful, and results-oriented negotiations at the earliest feasible opportunity.

 

Efforts to convene an informal five-party meeting, in a bid to conclude the terms of reference and resume negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, were expected to start after April 2020 and the “elections” in the Turkish Cypriot community. However, the “elections” have been suspended for October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Source: Cyprus News Agency

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