President Nicos Anastasiades gave a news conference after he addressed the UN General Assembly on Tuesday night.
He said that there was a difference between wanting a solution to the Cyprus problem and accepting its particular contents.
Answering questions at the end of his New York visit, he was asked if he could convince the Greek Cypriots to vote ‘yes’ in a future referendum. Anastasiades replied that it was too soon to say whether or not a settlement would be accepted or not. “It depends on the content”.
“I want to believe that all Greek Cypriots want a solution. But wanting a solution depends on the content of the solution,” he said.
“If we can respond to the concerns of the Greek Cypriots and the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots… the solution should be a negotiated solution that can be accepted by both communities,” he added. “It is not only one side that needs to consent, but both.”
Both community leaders were working to find a solution that takes into account the concerns of both communities, he noted.
“There are many parameters that we can’t ignore during the negotiations… the guarantees, the feeling of security for Greek Cypriots without overlooking those of the Turkish Cypriots.”
However, he wanted to be rid of the guarantors system, describing it as “anachronistic” and something which basically challenged the country’s independence, especially as it was a member of the EU.
Asked if there was any progress on raising finance to fund a solution, Anastasiades said that the UN was working on it; not only to get the funds to set up a federated state but also to pay for property compensation.
He spoke of the cost of complete restoration, partial restoration, alternative options and property exchange. “Therefore, the creation of a fund that can cope with these claims is of the utmost importance,” he said “which is why both during the talks with the United Nations General Secretary, and with American officials, I had the opportunity to highlight the need to promptly address an issue, as I said, which is of major importance”.
Anastasiades said that during his New York contacts he had the opportunity to clear “at the highest levels” some of the issues surrounding the negotiations such as the necessity to guarantee the four basic freedoms, the compatibility of the solution with the EU acquis communautaire, the fact that in the year 2015 there cannot exist as part of a settlement, foreign troops and guarantees,” he said.
“During my meetings the common thread with my interlocutors was that the next few months will be crucial both for the negotiations, and the elections in Turkey that will enable us to establish safer estimates about the prospects of the process in progress.”