Russia could encourage Turkey in the peace talks: says Anastasiades

Newly elected Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said he intends to urge Russia to advise Ankara to work for a lasting settlement in Cyprus, vowing that he will never allow the island to remain divided.

In a recent interview, Anastasiades said he favours a political solution to the decades-long conflict that will protect the rights of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. He added that Greek Cyprus “has what it takes” for a settlement, urging the Turkish side to show the necessary flexibility for what he called a “new period” for the entire region.

Anastasiades, the winner of the recent presidential elections in Greek Cyprus, is a leader who supported the Annan plan proposed by the United Nations in 2004 to resolve the Cyprus dispute. The proposal suggested establishing a federation of two states. Greek Cypriots rejected the proposal by 76 percent, while 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots approved it in a referendum that took place on both sides of the island in 2004.

Anastasiades said his government was prepared to talk to all countries that could help to end the conflicts with the Turks. He also said that he wanted to strengthen their ties with Western nations and with NATO.

He underlined the importance of US and British influence. Noting that Turkey had good relations with Russia; he also wanted to benefit from the same.

We will ask Russia to encourage Turkey on the issue of Cyprus,” Anastasiades said.

The newly elected leader noted that he has the intention of making new headway on a solution but his goal is not to start from scratch. “We have undertaken some commitments in this respect and we will not abandon them,” he added.

He said Greek Cypriots want to settle the Cyprus issue but also acknowledged that Turkish Cypriots won’t approve of less than what they want today. He said they want to reunify the island without making concessions on security or freedom.

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