President Anastasiades, speaking yesterday at a press conference on his New York visit, has said that for the first time since the “Turkish invasion”* against Cyprus, there was an opportunity to negotiate with those who bear the responsibility to achieve a solution of the Cyprus problem.
He added that such a development upgrades rather than undermines the Republic of Cyprus.
He went on to clarify that it was not the Greek Cypriot government’s intention to convene a bilateral, trilateral or quadrilateral conference.
Anastasiades also said that he would be visiting Athens in the coming days to meet with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and stressed that great national matters are not dealt via rhetoric but rather via responsible political decisions. At the same time, he warned of the dangers arising from the lapse of time.
He spoke of the enhancement of Cyprus’ geostrategic position due to the recent hydrocarbons discovery within its Exclusive Economic Zone. He also claimed that Cyprus now had the lead role in bringing together neighbouring countries on the production of hydrocarbons, a fact which was welcomed by his contacts in New York, he noted.
The president declared that energy should not be a source of conflict but rather a catalyst towards the resolution of conflicts and regional integration.
Referring to the proposal for the Greek Cypriot negotiator to meet with Turkish government representatives, he highlighted the fact that the Cyprus problem has never been a bi-communal one, but a problem of invasion and occupation.
Turkey, he pointed out, as an occupying power holds the key to a solution. He added that therefore, Turkey could not be absent from any talks on the problem, merely listening to others, urging them to help resolve the problem.
At the same time, he welcomed Turkey’s decision to respond positively to his proposal and expressed the hope that this will be followed by practical and meaningful steps and a generally constructive stance of good faith, which will effectively contribute to finding a solution.
Referring to the various meetings he had during his visit to the US, President Anastasiades said that he had discovered that there was a lively international interest in the need to resolve the Cyprus problem, since, as he put it, everyone now recognises Cyprus’ stabilising role in the region.
He expressed the hope that the verbal support he received during his meetings will turn to practical support so that a lasting, functional solution can be achieved as soon as possible, in accordance with European principles and values.
*A coup d’état in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 by Greek Cypriot and Greek elements favouring union with Greece was followed by military intervention in Cyprus by Turkey, one of the guarantor countries.