A fundamental prerequisite of every peace process is that for the talks to resume with realistic prospects for success, it is imperative to create an environment that will be conducive for constructive and good faith negotiations, on an equal footing and not under conditions of intimidation and threats, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has stressed.
In his address at the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly he said that “we remain committed to immediately resume the peace process, in line with the relevant joint understanding reached with the UN Secretary – General and the Turkish Cypriot leader on November 25, 2019, which sets the principles for the resumption of a new round of negotiations".
He denounced Turkey for its provocative actions, saying that they run contrary to international law, the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the UN Convention on the law of the Sea either through illegal drillings in our Exclusive Economic Zone or by threats for the imminent opening of the fenced city of Varosha under Turkish military control.
Furthermore, he expressed his deep regret that after the UNSG`s intention to resume negotiations, Turkey did not respond in a positive manner, but her reaction was through public statements of his Minister of Foreign Affairs who argued that their aspiration and aim is to establish or impose a two-state solution or a confederal system of Governance.
"My regret grew bigger after the recent statements by the President of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, during his address at the UN General Debate. What is most disappointing is the futile effort of Mr. Erdogan, in full defiance of historic truths, to impress that tensions in the Middle East are due to the unilateral actions undertaken by Greeks and Greek Cypriots".
He continued "I would never have expected that a country - which has been condemned repeatedly by a plethora of UN Resolutions, decisions of the Security Council, as well as of the European Court of Human Rights for its illegal invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of our country, - would allege that, and I quote: “Behind the tension existing in the Eastern Mediterranean for a while, there are countries acting with the understanding of the “winner takes it all”".
The President wondered "Which country uses might in order to “take it all? Which country prefers a power-based interstate conduct rather than a rules-based one? How contradictory, is the reference of Mr. Erdogan that: “We do not have designs on anyone else’s right, remedy and legitimate interest neither in the Eastern Mediterranean nor in any other region”.
He stressed "Which country invaded and still occupies Cyprus; Which country invaded Syria; Which country military intervened in Libya; Which country violates the sovereign rights of Greece; Which country intervenes in the internal affairs of Iraq?"
The President noted that what is even more paradox as regards Mr. Erdogan’s approach is his comment that:
“…we cannot turn a blind eye on the violations of our country and the Turkish Cypriots and the fact that our interests are being ignored”.
He wondered "Whose interests are being ignored when Turkey’s claims, limit the exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus by 44 per cent at the expense of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots? Whose interests are being ignored when Turkey: Chooses to disregard the convergences reached between the leaders of the two communities both in 2011 and 2015 which provide that:(a) Federal Cyprus will continue being a contracting party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and;(b) Any revenues accrued from the exploitation of the State’s natural resources will be allocated to the federal government"
President Anastasiades recalled that these convergences were never challenged by Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot side.
It is for this exact reason, he said, that the issue of hydrocarbons was neither raised during the intense negotiating period between 2011 to 2017 nor was part of one of the elements of the framework of the UN Secretary – General as presented at Crans Montana.
At the same time, he pointed out, Turkey also disregards the fact that the Republic of Cyprus has established a National Sovereign Fund which safeguards the interests of Greek and Turkish Cypriots from any revenues accrued from the exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits.
Moreover, he noted that Turkey fails to acknowledge my proposal for establishing an escrow account to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community, to which any revenues from the exploitation of hydrocarbons would be deposited, based on the population proportion of the constituent states.
"And if Turkey will recognize the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus within its Exclusive Economic Zone, then the said revenues might be released to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community, even prior to the solution of the Cyprus Problem.
Therefore, as proven by the aforesaid, Turkey’s assertions that its illegal actions aim at protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriots are false and invalid, as false and invalid are also its claims that the Republic of Cyprus violates the rights of Turkey".
The President of Cyprus welcomed Erdogan`s reference that “Our priority is to settle disputes in a sincere dialogue, based on international law and on an equitable basis”, saying "If Mr. Erdogan truly adheres to the above-mentioned and if he sincerely believes that Turkey’s actions against the Republic of Cyprus are compatible with international law, then why doesn’t he accept our proposal for a sincere bilateral dialogue or to refer the whole issue to the International Court of Justice?"
International law cannot be applied unilaterally, according to one’s whims, he underlined.
"Wouldn’t be to the best benefit of everyone to settle our differences in accordance with international practices? On my behalf I wish to repeat once more that I am ready to engage in a constructive dialogue and/or to abide by any judgement of the International Court," he stressed.
In his speech, President Anastasiades said that the blame – game method is always used by those who bear the responsibility of not reaching a solution to problems or disputes they themselves created.
"This is exactly what Mr. Erdogan attempted to do by accusing our side, that: “The only obstacle to a solution is the uncompromising, unjust and spoiled approach of the Greek Cypriot side”. From what I have already mentioned it is evident as to which side, through the military invasion and its illegal actions thereafter, aims to permanently divide the Republic of Cyprus.
The numerous UN Resolutions, the decisions of the Security Council and the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, speak by themselves".
At the same time, he wondered "1. Is it uncompromising to aspire establishing an independent and sovereign State, without any foreign guarantees, any right of intervention by a foreign country and free from the presence of occupation troops?
Which other of the 193 UN member-states is under Guarantees by a third country?
2. Is it unjust to advocate establishing a normal State in which all decisions will be taken only by its citizens, free from foreign dependencies?
3. Is it uncompromising to envision establishing a robust system of security, based on the Charter of the UN and the Treaties of the EU and the Council of Europe?
4. Does any constitution of a Federal State provide that for every decision at a Federal Level at least one positive vote by one constituent member is required? When especially the constituent member is controlled by a third country?"
Continuing he said that he posed this argument, having in mind the fact that the Turkish implanted settlers might now outnumber Turkish Cypriots, and Turkey’s insistence of maintaining the Treaty of Guarantee, the right of intervention and the permanent presence of Turkish troops.
"If President Erdogan considers that what he demands for the Turkish Cypriots is compromising and just, then why doesn’t he grant the same rights to the Kurds, bearing in mind that their population proportion is close to the population proportion of the Turkish Cypriots?"
Furthermore, he said that as a European country and in full respect to the values and principles of the EU and the UN, our intention has never been or will never be to deprive our Turkish Cypriot compatriots from their legitimate rights, in accordance with the EU acquis and the UN Charter.
"I do believe, provided that there no foreign interreferences, that there is common ground between the two communities to reach a settlement that will fulfill the vision of our people to live in a European country, truly independent and sovereign. A country, free from foreign troops and rights of intervention, ensuring conditions of stability for a safe, prosperous and peaceful future. A settlement with neither winners nor losers, in full respect of the sensitivities and concerns of both communities. For a State truly led by Cypriots and not for a State led by foreigners. The era of colonization is well beyond us".
Referring to Cyprus` trilateral and multilateral cooperation, he said that founded on the principles of international law and good neighborly relations, these partnerships are neither directed against any third country nor do they exclude any country which shares our vision of establishing conditions of lasting peace and stability in our region.