President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday evening that he has reasons to believe that during the ongoing negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, talks will reach the issue of territory.
Speaking during an event to honour those who fell for the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, President Anastasiades assured that during the talks, it was decided that all Cypriots will have the right to freedom of movement, acquiring property, settlement, exercising their profession or any economic activity throughout the island.
He also said that “we honour those who fought so that we can maintain the hope alive for this country because with their contribution, we can continue their struggle”.
The President said “for 42 years the tragic consequences of the occupation remain unchanged: the refugees, the missing persons, the enclaved, the violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Cyprus are the irrefutable evidence of the ongoing international illegality against Cyprus.”
Our responsibility, he said, is “is to restore continuity in our country, to restore the historical course of events” and the society that was forcibly broken up in 1974. This, said Anastasiades, can only be achieved with a solution to the Cyprus problem, the freedom and reunification of our country and the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.
Referring to the ongoing talks, President Anastasiades said they are at “a crossroads”, noting that “we are concluding the discussion on four chapters, governance, economy, European Union and property and if there is progress, as is expected, we will discuss the issue of territory which is fully attuned of course with the property issue”.
If we reach this point, said the President, I have reasons to believe that it will be a very important moment in the history of the negotiations as it will be the first time the Turkish side will be asked to put its positions in writing. Due to its special status, the town of Famagusta was and is a priority he said, without undermining the significance of other occupied areas.
President Ansatasiades noted we raise the issue of the return of Famagusta from the first day of a solution, and this is something that everyone involved understands. We also attach great significance to the benefits of a settlement from day one of the solution, the President remarked.
He pointed out that Turkish Cypriots cannot acquire and benefit from everything that the solution has to offer from day one while Greek Cypriots should have to wait for some time. The benefits, he said, should be evident from the first day so that “every Cypriot citizen feels that a new day is dawning for the country”.
For this reason, he continued, we are pursuing the return of Famagusta to its lawful citizens from day one and for Varosha to be returned to its lawful owners as well as those areas uninhabited and from day one we expect the withdrawal of a significant number of Turkish troops.
President Anastasiades said some convergences have been achieved that allow him to assure that “all Cypriot citizens will have the right to freedom of movement, acquiring property, settlement, exercising their profession or any economic activity throughout the island. The full respect of the right of ownership is secured and the demographic character of the island from day one will reflect, with a small deviation, the traditional demographic composition of the Republic of Cyprus as it was established in 1960.
Referring to the Turkish Cypriots, he said it is the only way out of the isolation they are in. Their plan for recognition of the illegal regime has failed and the results are not only affecting Greek Cypriots but also Turkish Cypriots who have to understand that with a solution, they will become European citizens and will enjoy all benefits from living in a well organised state.
On Turkey`s role, he said that it is often said that the Ankara holds the key to a solution “therefore it depends on Turkey if the positive rhetoric it develops will come into practise”.
He said we are at a point where a solution will benefit all, Turkey, Europe, Greece and especially our region, he added. But for Turkey, said Anastasiades, with a solution to the Cyprus issue it will contribute to achieving peace in a troubled region and the road to Europe will take on a new dimension.
President Anastasiades also said that the daily lives of the people in Cyprus who work either in the government, semi-government or private sector will not change as all government departments will continue to operate like today. The same with the local administration and the health and social insurance systems since both constituent states will have their own systems.
What we need to do, he added, is to remove from the people`s minds, the evils of the past and the distrust which we have in the presence of the occupation army and to build a new political culture that will underpin the status of Cypriot citizens and to the notion that regardless of our national identity, we all ought to serve above all the interests of our common country.
The implementation of a solution will take place under strict timeframes without disrupting our daily lives, said Anastasiades adding “the most important thing is to cultivate a feeling of security for all citizens since with a solution stability will be secured and our country will be protected from outside intervention. Our insistence that a European state, full member of the EU does not require guarantors or guarantees or occupation troops is therefore not accidental.
The EU, he added, constitutes sufficient protection and also the structure of the state, as agreed, adequately protects the Turkish Cypriots so as not to cause a feeling of insecurity.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks between Anastasiades and Akinci have been underway since May 2015, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof