Security and guarantees constitute the core issues of the Cyprus problem, Defence Minister says

Defence Minister Savvas Angelides, said on Sunday that it is evident that there is an effort by the Turkish side to overlook the issues of security, guarantees, intervention rights and the withdrawal of the occupation troops from Cyprus, and stressed that for the Greek Cypriot side security and guarantees constitute the core issues of the Cyprus issue and this reality should not be ignored, so that it will be possible for the negotiations on the Cyprus problem to be successful.

Speaking during the memorial service for Gregoris Afxentiou, one of the heroes of the EOKA struggle 1955-1959 to liberate Cyprus from British colonial rule, the Minister said the government and first of all President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, is firmly working for the resumption of the talks on the Cyprus problem, securing what has been achieved at the negotiations as it has been handed over to us by the UN Secretary General Mr. Guterres, in Crans Montana, including explicit references about the abolition of guarantee and intervention rights.

Our first task, he noted, is to formulate the terms of reference, as noted by the UNSG himself, that will allow for results-oriented and effective negotiations to take place, he noted.

We are aware that there is disappointment, since the actions and the statements of the other side do not leave any room for optimism. It is evident that there is an effort to overlook the issues of security, guarantees, intervention rights and the withdrawal of the occupation troops. However, for us, security and guarantees constitute the core issues of the Cyprus issue and this reality should not be ignored so that it will be possible for the negotiations on the Cyprus problem to be successful, he stressed.

Moreover, he said that the UNSG’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute is aware of what was discussed in the past and if the other side shows good will, as we do, then the terms of reference will be formulated, something which will be a critical step towards breaking the deadlock.

Angelides noted that the President of Cyprus, as he himself has repeatedly said, is ready to proceed, at any time, with good will, to the negotiating process that has been determined by the UN Secretary General. He added that this is what Anastasiades made clear to the Turkish leader Mustafa Akinci, during their informal meeting on February 26.

He said that as a gesture of good will, President Anastasiades prepared a series of new proposals to improve the conditions of communication between the two communities, something that will contribute to the better understanding of concerns. These are proposals which in no case will lead to the upgrading of the illegal regime, Angelides stressed.

The Defence Minister said that we are firmly pursuing a settlement of the Cyprus problem, the soonest possible, adding that a settlement should lift the unacceptable status quo and be based on the international law and the EU principles and values, leading to the creation of a really independent and sovereign state, with no guarantee and intervention rights, or the presence of the occupation army.

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

Source: Cyprus News Agency