FM says Cyprus must align her interests with those of countries in the region and more powerful states

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides on Thursday said that it is important for Cyprus to align her interests with those of countries in the region and more powerful states, pointing out that there’s no such thing as being romantic in politics. ”There are no permanent friends or supporters, there are only interests and the effort of the Cyprus Republic is to align her interests with those of her neighboring countries but also of bigger countries” , the Minister said in an audience of high school students who asked questions and exchanged views.

Asked about the Cyprus problem, the Minister said that when UNSG Envoy Jane Holl Lute will return to the island, end of January or beginning of February, there will be developments which will allow the resumption of the stalled talks. Christodoulides said that UNSG Antonio Guterres refrained from putting the blame on any side on the island as regards the stalemate because he wanted to keep the prospect for a solution alive. He explained that if Guterres had blamed a specific party, it would have been hard for a new effort to take place. The Minister also said that this is the approach by the EU as well, which is very well aware of the reason why we did not have a positive outcome so far.

Replying to another question, the Minister said that as of now, the possibility of joining the NATO is not something that is in our plans.As regards NATO guaranteeing the solution, the Minister said that in 2019, a member state of the EU does not need any guarantees by any third party. ”The fact that we are a member state of the EU is the best guarantee”, he said.

Christodoulides was also invited to comment Turkey’s threats which he described as hybrid threats. He said that all the statements by Ankara are not randomly made , adding that Turkey will intensify its rhetoric in the next period.The Minister said that these threats towards Cyprus’ sovereign rights in the EEZ are threats towards all the countries in the region and towards the EU as well.

Christodoulides referred to the migration crisis and said that the EU has failed to manage the issue which is a threat to EU’s cohesion. He also said that the countries of the South ask for a fair share of burden. The Minister added that we need to explore the causes of the problem and said that the approach that all migrants are responsible for all the problems which the member states face, is wrong.

The Minister was also asked about the Prespes Agreement between Greece and FYROM. He said that this is an issue of the Greek government and we respect its decisions. He also said that this matter does not affect our foreign policy or the developments in our exclusive economic zone.

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

Source: Cyprus News Agency