President hopes Turkey will revise its intransigent positions on security and guarantees

President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades conveys to the international community and to Turkey the message that the Greek Cypriot community is strongly committed to negotiate a Cyprus solution within the parameters set by the Secretary General of the United Nations with the aim to establish a truly independent and sovereign state, free of any third country dependencies.

He further expressed hope that Turkey, which illegally maintains more than 40,000 occupation troops in Cyprus, will respond positively to the proposals submitted by the Greek Cypriot side and revise its intransigent positions particularly in the areas of security and guarantees, and as regards demands that are not in line with Cyprus’s capacity as a member-state of the EU, so as to create sound prospects of achieving an overall agreement.

President Anastasiades referred to the latest developments in the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus Problem during his speech at a ceremony held today at the Presidential Palace to receive the credentials of the new Ambassadors of Serbia, Myanmar and Lithuania.

He made a special reference to the parameters set by the United Nations Secretary � General during the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana within which the negotiations should move forward, in order to achieve progress and/or convergences on six thematic topics, including on the Chapter of Security and Guarantees and the issue of foreign troops.

He pointed out that as a result of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side refusal to negotiate within the UN parameters and in view of an imminent impasse, the Greek Cypriot side submitted specific proposals addressing the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots without ignoring the sensitivities of the Greek Cypriot side, always in line with the outline presented by the UN Secretary � General.

Our written proposal clearly stressed that none of the proposals would come into force if the unilateral right of intervention and the guarantees were not terminated; if there was no withdrawal of the occupation forces with a specific timetable; and if the just demands of the Greek Cypriot side on territorial readjustments were not satisfied. At the same time, we proposed a credible monitoring mechanism for the implementation and monitoring of the settlement, he added.

President went on to say that on July 6, in the presence of the UN Secretary � General and during the long consultations that followed, Mr Cavusoglu, albeit implying that Turkey was ready to show flexibility, stubbornly refused to reveal the Turkish positions, while at the same time demanding the prior satisfaction of the Turkish Cypriot positions on the internal dimension of the Cyprus problem, with special emphasis on the need to satisfy the Turkish demand on the issue of the equivalent treatment of Greek and Turkish citizens, and also the Turkish position for the solution to become primary law of the European Union.

In view of the imminent deadlock, as he further said, the UN Secretary – General took the initiative to propose a short communique that would register generally acceptable positions on the Chapter on Security and Guarantees, and also on some other Chapters where it was thought possible for a convergence of views to be achieved.

Unfortunately, he said, Mr Cavusoglu finally revealed that the position of Turkey remained unchanged and, namely, that the system of security and guarantees and also the right of intervention must be maintained with a review clause in fifteen years’ time, whereas on the issue of the troops the absolute position of Turkey was that whatever number is agreed upon will remain permanently in Cyprus.

In order to avoid aggravation of a further crisis, he added, the Secretary General assumed the burden of responsibility stating that, in view of the developments, it seemed that on the issue of the termination of the Treaty of Guarantee, and the right of intervention, his suggestions throughout the entire duration of the consultations were based on a false understanding that he had formulated during his talks with the Turkish Foreign Minister.

What is most unfortunate and deeply disappointing is that Turkey, once the process reached a critical point, when it was called to prove in practice that it means business on the Cyprus Problem, and when was expected to deliver on the Chapter of Security and Guarantees, merely repeated its well-known positions, demonstrating that it has no intention to materialize in practice its repeated rhetoric of adopting a constructive stance and positively contributing to the efforts of reaching a settlement, President Anastasiades said.

President Anastasiades also made a reference to the economy of the country saying that four years ago, just after his election as President of the Republic of Cyprus this country was faced with nothing less than economic collapse.

Today, we can proudly -once more- connect Cyprus to growth and potential. The Cyprus economy is emerging stronger and stands ready to face current challenges, utilizing its full potential. For 2016 growth was at 2.8%, one of the highest rates in the European Union and most importantly this growth rate is expected to stay at this level for the next few years. Our efforts to improve the business environment are continuing, and at the same time, our focus on reforms and strengthening the economy’s reliability is strong and decisive, he noted.

Despite the economic difficulties that we have faced, he added, our country’s comparative advantages not only remain intact, but have been further enhanced. Cyprus continues to be a highly competitive center for international businesses, offering a platform for operations and preferential access to markets like Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

He went to say that we are now focusing on attracting investors in the productive sectors of the economy. This is my Government’s most important priority, following the restoration of the state’s and the financial system’s credibility. The majority of economic sectors in Cyprus present growth opportunities: tourism, telecommunications, shipping, real estate, education, health, transport, research and innovation. The energy sector is also a promising field President concluded in his speech.

Source: Cyprus News Agency