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President: There is will to find a solution

16/05/2017 10:07
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has reiterated his will and determination to continue working towards finding a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, pointing out that this could be achieved only if Turkey changes its stance and realizes that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can coexist together as in the past.

President Anastasiades was speaking at the sixth Youth Debate organized here yesterday by the Reaction-Youth for the Prevention, a non-governmental organization, and the Bank of Cyprus during which he replied to questions asked by the participants regarding his almost five years term in presidency.

He said that the fact that time is passing by should not lead a non-viable solution with no prospect for the country, adding that the aim is to end the partition of the island so that both communities and young people come together.

Asked whether the Cyprus issue is once again at a stalemate, President Anastasiades expressed his will and determination to find a viable and functional solution which will create the conditions for the reunification of the country under a federal democracy with two constituent states with political equality, as this has been agreed.

He said that shortly after Moustafa Akinci became the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, there was a change in mentality and climate while significant progress was achieved in the four chapters of governance and sharing power, economy, EU issues and property in which there are still some problems to be addressed.

The President said that there are two key issues to be addressed, one concerning the territorial adjustments and the territories to be returned under the Greek Cypriot administration and the other the anachronistic system of guarantees.

The President said there were moments of optimistic prospect but also moments that do not allow us to move forward due to rigid Turkish positions. He said that the Turkish Cypriot side moved away from the convergences agreed by the two sides, noting however that he is doing his utmost by taking bold steps to create those conditions that will help overcome mistrust on both sides.

On the talks in Geneva and Mont Pelerin, earlier this year, the President said that it was a bold decision to go to a multilateral conference on Cyprus which he took firstly to prevent a possible failure of the talks and to test Turkey’s will to solve the Cyprus problem.

He said that the Turkish Cypriot side set two conditions in Geneva, namely the EU four fundamental freedoms to apply to Turkish nationals and progress to be made on the effective participation of Turkish Cypriots in the federal state. President said that if these freedoms were to be granted to Turkish citizens, this will lead to a change of the demographic composition of the population of Cyprus. “We are talking about 75 million Turks 60 kilometers away, with the Greek Cypriot community not exceeding 810 thousand people”, he said.

He said that talks still face some problems and “we are making every effort to overcome them and we will insist till the end.”

"If Turkey changes its stance and realizes that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can coexist together as they did in the past, then a solution will be found to move forward.

If not, deadlock will be created which is the worst prospect for our country because time does not run in the interests of either Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots," he said.

In reply to another question, the President said that this is not the first time that Turkey is violating the sovereign rights of Cyprus, calling on EU members and the international community to seriously take into account Turkey’s threats and these violations.

The President said that Cyprus’ economy has recovered and is being upgraded by international rating agencies by 12 notches and is one notch before the investment grade.

He also referred to the strict discipline which led to the successful implementation of the economic adjustment programme for Cyprus. He noted too the contribution of political parties by introducing some measures to introduce the necessary reforms, as well as to the positive attitude of trade unions of workers and employers.

Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.