President: Progress in security chapter could lead to sound prospects for bridging differences in UN talks

Cyprus Presinet Nicos Anastasiades has expressed his strongest belief that progress in the chapter of security and guarantees will create sound prospects of further bridging the differences between the two sides during the discussions to follow thereafter, in order to achieve not just substantial progress, but even a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The President recalled a statement on this issue by the UN Secretary General that such a development is an essential element in reaching an overall agreement.

Addressing on Tuesday evening an event to mark the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, hosted by the UK High Commissioner, he said that the UK, as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and as an interested stakeholder to take part in the upcoming Conference on Cyprus, its solidarity and support in Cyprus’ efforts to effectively tackle the Chapter of Security and Guarantees, and not just this of course, carries decisive weight.

President Anastasiades noted that our commitment to the vision of a reunited Cyprus is unwavering, pointing out that we will continue to work tirelessly, with dedication, to achieve a viable, functional settlement that truly reunites Cyprus and its people in a modern European country.

In his address, the President thanked High Commissioner Matthew Kidd for his diligent efforts towards enhancing bilateral relations, saying that admittedly this is a task not without its challenges.

It is certainly no coincidence that Matthew was recently awarded the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in particular the Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, for his exceptional services to the UK-Cyprus relations, he added.

The President also conveyed the deep sorrow and sincere condolences of the Government and the people of Cyprus to the people of the UK, and the families of the victims of the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower.

At the same time, recalling that during the past few months terrorism has tragically claimed the lives of many innocent people in the UK, I would like to express our solidarity, and reiterate that we will maintain our strong resolve to stand united against terrorism, and any action which aims at disrupting our lives and creating distrust and fear in our societies, he added.

President Anastasiades pointed out that Cyprus and the United Kingdom are bound together by historical bonds, which date back to the twelfth century and these bonds are founded on the extensive contacts between our peoples and our mutually beneficial socioeconomic interests, which long preceded the accession of our two countries in the EU and are based on common values, principles, ideals and interests.

In parallel, the President said, over the years we have worked closely and effectively on a wide range of issues of mutually-beneficial interest, both at the European and international level, including as partners in the Commonwealth.

As we are now entering an important period in the modern history of the United Kingdom, during which its future relationship with the EU will take shape, allow me to express my sincere commitment to working with Her Majesty’s Government towards forging an even closer and dynamic relationship with the UK, which for Cyprus is an important and valued partner, he said.

The President expressed his confidence that the UK and the EU will find the best possible way to ensure close and productive relations. We regret losing such a close partner within the European Union, but we fully respect the will of the British people, he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-backed talks since May 2015 with a view to reunify the island under a federal roof.

The Conference on Cyprus will reconvene on June 28 at the political level, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Conference will take place with the participation of Anastasiades and Akinci, as well as Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer.

Source: Cyprus News Agency