Malta supports efforts to give the new generation of Cypriots a land that is free of foreign troops

Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat expressed support in Cyprus efforts to give the new generation of Cypriots a land that is free of foreign military presence.

He was speaking after official talks at the Presidential Palace with President Nicos Anastasiades and delegations from both countries. Anastasiades described the current phase of the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement as a critical juncture, noting that challenges need to be surpassed so as to move forward in the talks after 22 months of intensive and painstaking negotiations,.

Anastasiades described as “regrettable” the developments, which saw the Turkish Cypriot side leaving the negotiating table, at a crucial moment when the key chapters of security and guarantees were expected to be discussed.

In his speech, Muscat said, “I am proud I come from a country where people of my age and generation only have faint memories of having foreign military presence on their land. And I do understand, believe and support the aspiration of your country to give the next generation of Cypriots a similar experience, that of having one’s own will decided by one’s own people.”

He added that “we will do whatever we can within our limited role realistically to support and to make an appeal for all parts to engage and to come around the table to rekindle the optimism that there was at the start of this year and I do hope that time will give good counsel and will prove that this is something that can really happen and is within grasp.”

He said they discussed the Brexit, noting now it is an issue of timing and rapid response on the part of the Council since British Prime Minister Teresa May will invoke Article 50 and to have clear guidelines to provide the framework for the EUs Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier to engage with his British counterparts.

On Migration, he said we need to be more ambitious and to discuss new ideas on the internal aspect of migration.

On the Rome Declaration, Mouscat said he joins President Anastasiades in saying the White Paper issued yesterday “is an extremely positive development and gives people a look at alternative scenarios”.

He assured of Maltas total support in Cyprus endeavours and thanked Cyprus for its support to the Maltese presidency.

In his statements, the President of the Republic said Muscat visits Cyprus as President of the Council of the European Union, at what can be described as very challenging times for Europe and its citizens.

He expressed confidence in Malta skillfully managing “these major challenges, taking into consideration the positions and concerns of all member states, and that the Maltese Presidency will be crowned with success”.

Anastasiades said they talked about the progress achieved so far on the priorities of the Maltese Presidency: Migration, Security, The Single Market, Social Inclusion, Europe’s Neighbourhood and Maritime policy.

He further assured the Prime Minister of Cyprus “unwavering support to the Presidency in taking its agenda forward. Cyprus and Malta share the same concerns and vision for our Union”.

In particular, he welcomed Muscats efforts to implement EU’s comprehensive migration policies in full respect of human rights, international law and European values, in order to ensure positive results.

He also said Cyprus is fully on board with the priority set by the Maltese Presidency on the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood.

On the Cyprus issue, he said Muscat’s visit “coincides with a critical juncture in the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem”.

Anastasiades said the “progress achieved during the last 22 months of intensive and painstaking negotiations, the pending issues that persist on significant issues, and the challenges that need to be surpassed so as to move forward”.

He expressed gratitude for the support of the Maltese Presidency and the European Union in the efforts to find a solution that will reunify the Republic of Cyprus, safeguarding the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens, fully in line with EU law, values and principles.

Anastasiades said it is “unthinkable that an EU member state should have military presence and guarantees by a third country, particularly in today’s current international environment and in a neighbourhood of extreme volatility”.

“We had a fruitful exchange with the Prime Minister on the recent regrettable developments, which saw the Turkish Cypriot side leaving the negotiating table, at a crucial moment when the key chapters of security and guarantees were expected to be discussed”, the President remarked.

Despite our deep disappointment, Anastasiades pledged firm commitment and readiness to “immediately resume the dialogue, and continue discussions where they were left off, on all six chapters”.

Cyprus, he added, expects “the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey as well, to constructively and tangibly contribute to the negotiations, an obligation it has also assumed in the context of its EU accession negotiations”.

He assured of the genuine and sincere will of the Greek Cypriot community for finding a solution: a solution that will not create winners and leave losers behind, with the ultimate aim for it to meet the concerns and expectations of all Cypriots.

Anastasiades said he agrees that “there is a need to chart a new course for our common future and our European project, based on our common fundamental values and principles” and welcomed the “White Paper on the Future of Europe”, issued yesterday by the European Commission in view of the Rome Summit of 25 March 2017.

Source: Cyprus News Agency