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President hopes T/Cs will accept proposal

26/05/2017 10:16
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot side will respond positively to his proposal to help take the process for a solution to the Cyprus issue forward.

In an address on Thursday evening, at an event at the American Embassy in Nicosia, on the occasion of the 241st anniversary of the Independence of the United States, the President said that “we are currently at a critical juncture in the negotiating process,” pointing out that his proposal aims solely at preventing a protracted impasse in the peace process.

He noted that the proposal is fully consistent with what has been jointly agreed with the Turkish Cypriot leader, as recorded in the Announcements of the United Nations of 1st of December 2016, immediately prior to Geneva, of 12th of January 2017 in Geneva and of 1st of February in Cyprus.

"My proposal would take us immediately to Geneva, and in order for the process to actually yield results, it includes, first convening a Conference on Cyprus for the completion of the discussions on critical Chapters of Security and Guarantees, second, when discussions on security and guarantees are completed, to proceed immediately to negotiations on territorial readjustments, third, following completion of discussions on territorial readjustments, to stay in Geneva for as long as is deemed necessary; essentially it would be a continuous summit of the leaders, not just in order to achieve substantial progress, but even to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem as well", he said.

President Anastasiades expressed his belief that this creative proposal could help to finally break the current impasse, bridge the differences, and establish the parameters, through a sequential approach and constructive negotiations to reach a comprehensive settlement on the Cyprus problem.

The President also expressed the hope that the Turkish Cypriot side will respond positively to this proposal, in order to take the process forward. "It is of utmost importance to remain committed to the continuation of the dialogue, work with determination, abandon any pretexts, and any unacceptable demands and preconditions that do not, in any way or form, serve the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots,” he added.

“Otherwise, as I have consistently and clearly conveyed to all stakeholders –considering the numerous outstanding issues, and the significant differences separating the two sides on a number of fundamental issues on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, on which we have exhausted the dialogue- reproducing past practices and experiences, such as the Mont Pelerin and Geneva meetings, will doom a new Conference to failure", he pointed out.

In his address the President expressed his gratitude for the principled stance and unwavering support of the United States on the Cyprus problem, and the significant contribution to the negotiating process.

He said that despite the difficulties, the Greek Cypriot side, and himself personally, remain wholly committed to continue working tirelessly towards reaching a functional, viable and lasting settlement to the benefit of all Cypriots.

"In this respect, I have no doubt that the United States –recognising the benefits that a settlement on the Cyprus problem would deliver not only for Cyprus but also for the region and the international community- will continue exerting its influence on Turkey to deliver concretely on its verbal commitment, and to contribute tangibly to the negotiating process", he added.

Referring to bilateral relations, President Anastasiades said that the two countries enjoy an excellent bilateral partnership and share the vision to enhance these ties further in a tangible manner.

He said that relations between Cyprus and the US have notably progressed to strategic depth, via, among other channels, “our joint commitment to the fight against asymmetric threats, such as terrorism, illegal drugs, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and development of nuclear weapons.”

``In this respect, I avail myself of this opportunity to express, once again, my Government’s, as well as my own determination and commitment, to work closely with the new US administration, in order to explore new areas of beneficial cooperation``, he added.

The President also underlined that Cyprus has proven to be a stable and reliable strategic partner to the US, and to this end, he added, “we aim to build further our dialogue on issues of common concern during my forthcoming visit to the United States at the beginning of June.”

``Allow me to single out one area, which warrants a special reference, and this is energy. We warmly welcome and express our appreciation for the presence and involvement of American companies –Noble and now Exxon-Mobil- in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, working in partnership with our Government for the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves``, he said.

According to the President, this marks a new era for bilateral relations, and constitutes a tangible sign of confidence in the role of Cyprus as a reliable regional actor, that has adopted a stabilizing role in an otherwise volatile region.

``Our vision is to transform the Eastern Mediterranean into an energy hub that would contribute to the region’s stability, through the diversification of energy sources and routes. It is our strong belief that cooperation in this field can be the guiding-doctrine for the resolution of the region’s political problems, contributing to conditions of peace and security``, he concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third. UN-backed talks are underway with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

The government of Cyprus has signed recently an exploration and production sharing contract for EEZ block 10 with the ExxonMobil Corporation and Qatar Petroleum consortium. Similar contracts were signed with ENI and Total for block 6 and with ENI for block 8.