Europe has the duty to contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus problem, President stresses before the EP plenary

Europe has the duty to contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus problem which constitutes an open wound on its own body, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday, addressing the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, in the framework of the debate on the Future of Europe.

The President elaborated on the achievements of the EU as well as the challenges the Union has to face, noting that this has to be done by working together and leaving aside any different approaches and narrow national interests.

Anastasiades expressed his satisfaction over the result of the negotiations on Brexit, expressed his position in favour of the banking union and the capital markets union, the setting up of a European army as well as the immediate revision of the Common European Asylum System and the Dublin Regulations for addressing the immigration and the refugee issues. Moreover, he underlined the importance of the Trilateral cooperation schemes to which Cyprus participates for Europe’s energy security.

He noted that Cyprus’ accession to the EU in 2004 was the result of its European orientation and was strongly supported by the Cypriots, not only as a source of stability and a prospect of welfare, but also as a catalyst in the continuous efforts for the reunification of the island and the establishment of security and peace.

Anastasiades recalled some of the great historic truths regarding the Cyprus issue: that it is basically a problem created by a foreign invasion and occupation, in violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms, since in 1973 over a third of Cyprus’ population became refugees in their own country.

He said that while the Union is trying to address the repercussions of new tragedies as wars due to which millions of people have become refugees, the refugees of Cyprus continue to be deprived their basic freedoms, and are not able to peacefully enjoy their properties and live in their homes.

While we are discussed about our Future, for Cypriot citizens even the four basic principles which are self-evident for all the rest of Europe, constitute goal difficult to achieve, he noted.

Moreover, the President expressed satisfaction over the work of the European Parliament Petitions Committee, particularly as regards the fenced-off city of Varosha.

I would not do something else than agree with the conclusions of the Committee’s report, and particularly with the reference that the return of Varosha to its legal citizens, would be the ideal Confidence Building Measure. A model of co-existence and cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, an excellent forerunner of a comprehensive settlement, he noted.

He stressed that Europe has the duty to contribute to the settlement of a problem of a member state. A problem which constitutes an open wound to its body. The healing of this wound will strengthen Europe, not just morally but substantially as well since only then Cyprus will be in a position to do its utmost and play its important role in a region particularly important for Europe’s interests, he added.

He assured the members of the European Parliament about his will and determination to work tirelessly with a view to achieve a settlement that will not create winners and losers, that will fully respect the expectations and concerns of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, that will create a functional and viable federal state on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions, the agreements reached up until now during different periods of time between the leaders of the communities, a sovereign and independent state with no dependencies from third parties and intervention or guarantee rights or occupation troops. A European state whose structure, institutions and functions will fully abide with the European principles and values, he added.

This is why we support in every way the efforts of the UN Secretary General and his Special Envoy with the hope that very soon the talks will resume, on the basis of the agreed framework and the terms of reference which are currently being drafted, with a view to achieve a comprehensive solution and reunification, the President said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. 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.

Source: Cyprus News Agency