Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, has assured that reaching a viable and functional solution, a state through which the Republic of Cyprus will evolve into a bizonal, bicommunal federation, continues to be the government’s firm goal.
President Anastasiades was addressing an event to celebrate Saint Maroun’s name day, on Sunday, in Nicosia.
He said he understands Maronites’ concerns and their just demand to return to their ancestral homes, reclaim their properties and ensure their fundamental human rights.
“What I wish to assure you,” he noted, “is that reaching a viable and functional solution which will reunify our country is our firm goal.”
A solution, he said, “which above all will restore international law and international legal order, which will be absolutely compatible with our status as an EU member state, absolutely compatible with the European acquis.”
“What we seek is the establishment of a normal state, which will be fully rid of any anachronistic guarantees, the presence of foreign troops and the military presence of third countries,” he noted.
A state, President Anastasiades pointed out, which with the Republic of Cyprus’ evolution to a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation, will grant all lawful citizens, with no exception, the right of co-existing and co-creating, in conditions of security, peace and prosperity.”
At the same, he assured that in this effort he fully adopts and puts forward in every possible occasion Maronites’ “long-standing requests which aim to the prevalence of peace in our country as well as your absolutely justified request to return to your ancestral homes.”
“What I would like to express once more and which I also conveyed to UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy (Jane Holl Lute) in our recent meetings, is our side’s readiness for the resumption of dialogue where it stopped in 2017,” he stressed.
President Anastasiades further expressed hope that finally Turkey will prove through a practical and realistic way the will for a constructive dialogue, so that the dialogue’s resumption will have as an outcome the sought-after goal, which is none other than the prevalence of freedom, stability, peace and conditions which will allow us to live in peace and be prosperous in the future.”
He also referred to the actions the government has taken to support the Maronites, including among other things the restoration of Maronite churches in the Turkish occupied areas via the work of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on the Protection of Cultural Heritage. On March 20, he announced, the restored Maronite church of Saint Anna in medieval Famagusta will be presented to the public by the Bicommunal Committee.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. 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.
It has been announced that UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus and Deputy Special Advisor on Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, will host an informal meeting of the leaders of the two communities on February 26, at the Chief of Mission’s residence.