President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has talked about a true critical juncture for the Cyprus problem, saying that it looks like many decisive convergences have been achieved that allow us to say that we can, under conditions, to hope for an overall proposal for a settlement in the next few months.
In remarks at the opening of an exhibition of occupied Kythrea antiquities and treasures, the President also said he is not certain if developments will proceed the way everyone hopes. And this, he said, does not depend on our commitment but on the determination and the implementation of a rhetoric that wants Turkey to pursue a solution.
He said that this will depend and will become evident at the forthcoming meeting on the territorial issue which will take place in a European country, possibly Switzerland.
“What I would like to assure everyone is that on the territorial issue we have outlined the fundamental criteria that will be used to define the territorial adjustments”, he said, adding that territorial adjustments should be in line with the property issue.
During these times, he said, our thoughts are not limited or geared towards specific areas. What we want is to ensure the return or the right to return, noting that this is one of the important convergences achieved. “The freedom of movement, settlement, to acquire property and to exercise a profession anywhere in Cyprus”, he added.
He clarified that the existing dividing lines should not be considered borders. “The borders of our country are Apostolos Andreas, Kyrenia, our occupied areas”.
President Anastasiades said what we are trying is to avert the phenomena of the past and to ensure that we will get rid of the occupation army, secure the reunification and ensure the fundamental freedoms, creating a state that is based on principles and values of the EU and will be functional, viable, allowing everyone to live wherever they want and to give at last the right to refugees to find their homes.
He also said that we want to see our churches operate and a spirit prevailing in our country where historically Greeks and Turkish Cypriots live, where Christians and Muslims can live together in peace.
President Anastasiades said that during the dialogue that will follow, we hope that the greatest progress can be achieved. It is not merely territorial adjustments, it is about the security that everyone should feel. As we are making efforts we will not fail to knock on the door of anyone, especially the permanent members of the Security Council and others, to persuade about our lawful right that no guarantees or the right of intervention is justified in a modern European country.
It will be inconceivable and a humiliation for Europe itself and for every European if a European state requires the guarantee of a third country and not that of Europe.
President Anastasiades said that through the proposals that the Greek Cypriot side has submitted, “we want both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to feel equally safe”.
We hope that Turkey will respond to our good will and intention and to realize that a solution to the Cyprus problem is not only for the interests of Greek Cypriots but for the benefit of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, relations between Turkey and Greece, Europe and the region.
Cyprus has been divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN led peace talks resumed in May 2015 aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof.