The President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, in his New Year`s Message, has made it clear that, in spite of the significant progress achieved in the negotiations for a Cyprus solution, he does not intend to create a climate of excessive euphoria.
He stressed that he goes to the Geneva talks, in early January under UN auspices, in full understanding of the difficulties, with all the good disposition and a positive spirit for a creative negotiation, having in mind first and foremost the concerns and the expectations of the people.
Referring to the economy, the President said that all indications confirm that Cyprus is coming out of the economic crisis which brought the country to the brink of total collapse, adding that the rate of growth is stabilised at 3%, marking one of the highest growth rates in the European Union.
On the Cyprus question, the President noted that 19 months ago he embarked on the most ambitious negotiating attempt of the recent past with a view to reaching a permanent and viable solution which will reunite the country and rid the island of Turkey`s occupation troops.
The fact that Cyprus is a member of the European Union has been and continues to be decisive in reaching important convergences, he pointed out, noting at the same time that fundamental elements of the solution must be adjusted to be in line with the acquis communautaire.
“Through difficult negotiations, we have managed to safeguard all the fundamental human rights for all the citizens of our country,” he assured.
Every citizen will be able to move freely throughout the island, without any restriction and everybody will have the right to choose where to settle. The right to property, to exercising a profession and to business activity have also been secured, he said.
He said that the demographic character of Cyprus, on day one of a solution, will reflect, with a slight deviation, the demographic composition of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960. “We have also introduced safety clauses, a most important provision or an equally important provision, which would prevent changes in the demographic character of Cyprus in the future from outside interference,” he added.
“As a result of this negotiation, nobody questions any longer the fact that the country undergoing an evolution will have a single sovereignty, one international personality and one citizenship, which constitute the absolutely necessary elements of a healthy federation, as this is defined by international law,” the President stressed.
Anastasiades said he wanted to be clear: “Despite the significant progress achieved so far, I have no intention of creating a climate of excessive euphoria. There remain still important differences on substantive issues which relate to fundamental principles of a solution of the Cyprus problem. This is a difficult negotiation, which will continue in the coming days, in January in Geneva.”
He explained that from 9 to 11 of January the remaining aspects of the Cyprus problem, with emphasis on the territorial issue will be discussed. Prior to the multi-party conference, (which is due to begin on January 12), he explained, maps will be tabled and then talks will proceed to the next stage of the dialogue which concerns the issues of security and guarantees.
“This is the first time that Turkey (which occupies Cyprus’ northern areas since it invaded in 1974) will be brought to face its own responsibilities, to prove if its public rhetoric for a Cyprus solution will be transformed into a specific proposal which will respect international law and order and will be in line with the Republic’s status as an EU member,” the President stressed.
In his New Year Message, Anastasiades assured that he goes to the Geneva talks, in full knowledge of the difficulties, with all the good will and a positive spirit for a creative negotiation, “bearing in mind first and foremost the concerns and the expectations of our people.”
Nonetheless, he said he wanted to be utterly frank and point out that statements and positions through which an attempt is made to impose the opinion of one side on to the other do not help.
“As we have already stressed, right from the start, our intention is to have a solution which will leave no winners and no losers. Attempts by one side to impose itself on the other will not lead to a solution but unfortunately it will allow the continuation of the present unacceptable state of affairs and as we all know, time will continue to work against the interests of both the Greek Cypriots as well as the Turkish Cypriots,” the President said.
The people, he explained, want an end to this unacceptable current situation through an evolution of the internal structure of the Republic of Cyprus into a federal bicommunal structure, which will guarantee the rights of all the citizens, in conditions of stability, security and peace.
“I want to make clear that insistence on old fashioned ideas which do not secure the independence and the sovereignty of our state, most likely, will not lead us to a solution and this will have undesirable results – I repeat – for both communities,” he pointed out.
The President said that the creative approach of the Greek Cypriot side could yield results only if all parties involved in the Geneva negotiations will be primarily concerned with the interests of the Cypriots and “not with serving the interests of others.”
He expressed the conviction that he goes to Geneva in a climate of unity, taking into account the close cooperation with the Greek government.
“If we succeed in our goals, we shall bequeath to our children a reunited homeland where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, in peace and stability, will feel not only safe but also proud,” he added.
The President thanked the people for their sacrifices which allowed the country to “turn a page” and laid stronger foundations for a modern and effective state.
Today, he said, Cyprus is in a position to face its future without any guardians, supported by its own strength, without any supervision from third parties. He referred to important reforms which have been introduced and other changes which are on the way, including a national health system.
The Geneva meetings were finalised after a dinner between President Anastasiades and Akinci in the presence of the UN top envoy on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide on December 1. President Anastasiades told the press after the dinner that until January 9th, the dialogue will intensify with the aim to bridge the gaps and existing disagreements.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.
President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-backed talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY