President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades said Turkey`s contribution in tangible terms in the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement negotiations is vital, noting there is no solution that can be reached without Turkey’s input.
The President made the remark, receiving the credentials of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Nathalie Jaarsma at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
The President of the Republic reaffirmed the good level of cooperation and bilateral relations between Cyprus and the Netherlands.
He also expressed the wish that during Jaarsma`s tenure will be “highly constructive and fruitful, and carried out in such a way that the sound relationship that Cyprus enjoys with the Netherlands will further flourish”.
Stressing that both countries, as partners within the European Union, and on a bilateral basis, have managed to establish a comprehensive and close cooperation in various policy areas, which is reflected at the political level, the extended economic interaction, as well as through tourism and people-to-people contacts. He also pledged to continue cooperation and expand it in other areas.
President Anastasiades said that the EU is going through critical times, “facing many global challenges”. Despite the difficulties the European Union is faced with, it has managed to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in Europe for over 60 years, created an open and competitive market, abolished internal borders and seeks to be able to influence the global agenda. These are the core strengths of the European Union, and this is where we need to build the trust of the European citizens once again.
Regarding Cyprus` economy, President Anastasiades said just after his election as President of the Republic of Cyprus, “this country was faced with nothing less than economic collapse. Today, Cyprus can be justifiably projected as a success story of economic reform. With the determination of my Government, the resilience of key productive sectors of the economy and the sacrifice and hard work of the Cypriot people, we have achieved to address fiscal imbalances, through growth-friendly consolidation, have a restructured and fully recapitalized banking sector, mainly through big international investors, undertake and implement radical structural reforms, return to the international markets much earlier than any other programme country and restore our credibility and regain confidence in the Cypriot economy”.
Our ambitious reform agenda aspires to lay the foundations for long-term sustainable growth, he said, “improving the business environment, which will increasingly attract foreign direct investments in the productive sectors of the economy”. Our reform agenda, he added, is “aiming to eventually transform our economic model, to enhance our competitive edge and to attract foreign direct investments, in order to achieve sustained growth and prosperity for all Cypriots”.
As regards the ongoing negotiating process to reach a comprehensive and viable settlement on the Cyprus problem, since May 2015 progress has been reached on an important number of issues related to the chapters of governance and power-sharing, economy and the EU, while some progress has been reached on the chapter of Property. At the same time, on those chapters there are still divergences and issues yet to thoroughly negotiate.
The most significant differences though, said the President, lie in the core and fundamental chapters of territory –which is linked with the chapter of property- and security and guarantees, which will weigh significantly as to whether a solution would be feasible. Further, in order to ensure that the solution will be politically and economically viable, functional and lasting, among others, we need also to address the financial dimension of the settlement, safeguarding the smooth, speedy and secure implementation of the agreement and the First Day of the solution and what it would entail.
President Anastasiades said he remains “confident that the above-mentioned challenges can be tackled during the intensified negotiations to take place in the coming months. Our discussions shall focus on minimizing the gap on existing differences and pending issues, as well as achieving progress on all those issues that we have yet to thoroughly discuss”.
Our aim is to avoid failures of the past and to present to the people a clear and well-prepared settlement agreement, with no constructive or other ambiguities and deficiencies.
President Anastasiades reiterated his “sincere willingness and determination to work tirelessly to achieve a settlement based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions, the High Level Agreements and the Joint Declaration of February 2014, with a single international legal personality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship”.
At the same time, he stressed that “Turkey’s contribution in tangible terms in these negotiations is vital. There is no solution that can be reached without Turkey’s input. We do therefore expect Turkey, which is responsible for the illegal stationing of more than 40,000 occupation troops in Cyprus, to take concrete steps towards this end, taking into account not only the benefit of the people of Cyprus but also the positive impact a settlement will have to regional stability and cooperation”.
Concluding, he said “we count on our European partners – we count on the Netherlands – to support our committed efforts to reunify Cyprus”.
Presenting her credentials, Ambassador Jaarsma said bilateral relations are excellent and have evolved considerably over the last few years.
In the economic sphere, after a number of very difficult years, Cyprus is now firmly on a path towards growth. “The impressive policy achievements of your Government have made it possible for Cyprus to successfully exit the macroeconomic adjustment programme”.
She said that when it comes to trade and investment, for years, companies based in the Kingdom of the Netherlands have been among the main investors in the Cypriot economy. “Important sectors are shipping, oil and gas, tourism and of course the financial sector. The investors’ choice for Cyprus shows the economic importance of the strategic location of your country, connecting Europe with the Middle East and Asia”.
The new ambassador said she was glad to see that there is again a year-round direct flight between the Netherlands and Cyprus, which will benefit tourists and businesspeople alike and said that universities and schools in the Netherlands remain popular among young Cypriots, adding his embassy will continue to organize and attend fairs and seminars around the island to promote the options in the Dutch educational system offers.
In the field of peace and security the Netherlands and Cyprus work closely together. She said both are active supporters of FRONTEX, the European External Borders Agency, and recently the Netherlands actively participated with defense staff and a consular team in Larnaka in the successful Cyprus-led international civil-military evacuation exercise named “Argonaut”.
Turning to the Cyprus problem, the Dutch Ambassador praised the President for “the bold steps you are taking in the negotiation process for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded. We greatly hope that these efforts will be successful in the time to come. We stand ready to support your efforts whenever needed”, she added.