Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said that the people of Cyprus will judge the final outcome of the solution to the Cyprus problem, if and when it is achieved.
He also said the people will be urged to decide in a responsible manner if a solution that is proposed meets their expectations and priorities.
Speaking in Athens during an event to mark the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, Kasoulides said that one thing is for sure that President Nicos Anastasiades will not, as he repeatedly stated, bring the people before a solution that he does not believe it satisfies their expectations.
He also said that the only thing that can be presented to the people is a complete solution proposal that responds to the concerns, expectations and hopes of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and can be implemented from day one of the agreement.
Kasoulides said today`s situation, “the status quo, cannot in any way, be a vision for the future our our country and I am sure it was not the vision of those who gave their lives for our freedom”.
He said “it is high time to put an end to the years of tension, insecurity” and lead our country to a path of peace, security, stability and welfare. Time is a factor that unfortunately is working against us, and we need to rid of the occupation and Turkish troops and reunite our homeland”.
Kasoulides said negotiations are at a critical junction and said that if the next meetings between President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci “yield the results we are anticipating, then we will be able to talk with more certainty about a positive outcome of this longstanding negotiating procedure”.
Even though the results of the negotiations allow us to maintain a reserved optimism, he said negotiations have not concluded and if all that has been agreed is not put down on paper as convergences and anything else is agreed, then we cannot talk about a solution.
It is a fact, he said, that the only thing that can be presented to the people is a complete solution proposal that will respond to the concerns, expectations and hopes of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and to be implemented from day one of a solution”.
Minister Kasoulides said that sufficient progress has been achieved on the issues of governance, economy, the EU and although a lot of work has been done on the property issue, issues of fundamental significance are still pending.
He also said that the territorial issue and the issue of guarantees remain open, noting the “former is closely associated with the issue of property and is essential to achieve progress on this issue if we are to overcome the obstacles on the property issue”.
Kasoulides also said that security is the “most important element, in my opinion and will determine the successful conclusion of the negotiation. The issue concerns both communities that will be asked to live and prosper together in a modern, European state. Therefore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus should not be determined by third parties”,
Any system of guarantees agreed, should fully respect the concerns of both communities, said Kasoulides. “We believe the security of both communities is safeguarded through a federal state with complete respect to the political equality, its bizonal and bicommunal nature, with unimpeded exercise of authority from the two constituent states, the productive participation of the Turkish Cypriot community in decision taking at a federal level as well as Cyprus` membership to the EU”.
He wondered why Turkish Cypriots insist on the system of guarantees of 1960 and questioned whether it is a matter of insecurity or the issue serves the wider geostrategic Turkish plans.
Kasoylides also said that only Turkey wants to maintain the system of guarantees.
The Cypriot FM also wondered why the Turkish side appears rushed to hold a discussion on the Cyprus issue with a five party conference, attaching more significance to the negotiating procedure rather than the substance and the quality of a solution.
He said that we have to take into serious consideration the issues that are still pending as well as the list of more than 100 issues that although have secondary significance, still need to be dealt with before a solution. Based on all this, I cannot comprehend the zeal of the Turkish Cypriots to proceed unprepared to a multilateral conference,” he said.
Kasoulides said that progress has been achieved but not to the extent that we can proceed with a multilateral conference because if it fails, all efforts will be lost and the whole procedure might collapse.
The solution we are seeking, he said, should undoubtedly lead to restoration of sovereignty throughout the island and creating conditions of real independence so that Cypriots can determine their fate themselves. Only that way can Cyprus continue to be a modern, credible and European country that will be a protagonist in the sensitive region of Eastern Mediterranean and lead efforts for peace, cooperation and stability in the region.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities, namely President Anastasiades and Akinci, are currently engaged in UN-led talks with an aim to reunify the country under a federal roof.