Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, has said that the government’s primary concern under the current circumstances is the termination of the illegal Turkish activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and to create the necessary conditions for the resumption of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem the soonest possible, from the point they were suspended in Crans-Montana.
Christodoulides who represented President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, at a reception hosted on Wednesday by the French Embassy in Nicosia, on the occasion of the French National Day, noted that an attempted second drilling operation by Turkey at the east part of Cyprus, just two months after the beginning of an illegal drilling at the west part of the island, within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), constitutes an escalation of the continuous violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey, according to the UN Law of the Sea Convention and the international law.
He noted that the illegal actions of Turkey in the Republic of Cyprus EEZ, which have been denounced by the whole international community, destabilize the region and aim at negatively affecting the energy prospects of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Foreign Minister thanked the government of France for its tangible and substantial support and solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus as regards the exercise of its sovereign rights.
Moreover, he expressed “our deepest appreciation for the long-standing support and interest shown by the Republic of France in the efforts we are making to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, the UN resolutions, the EU principles and values and the acquis communautaire.”
The Foreign Minister said that unfortunately, instead of joining the dialogue, Turkey is trying to create a new fait accompli, violating the international law and ignoring the calls of the EU and the international community to terminate its illegal actions and to respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources within its maritime zones.
Moreover he said that “unfortunately despite our expressed will, the efforts for the resumption of the negotiations have not yielded positive results yet. However, any disappointment due to this development must not discourage us. On the contrary it reinforces our determination for the need to resume a substantive dialogue that will lead to the termination of the current unacceptable state of play to the benefit of the whole people of Cyprus,” he underlined.
He noted that “the single and clear aim and expectation is to create a really independent and sovereign European state, free of any kind of third country dependencies, that will be modern, harmonized with the EU acquis and will really create the prospects for peaceful co-existence and welfare for all of its citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.”
On his part, addressing the reception, the Ambassador of the Republic of France to Cyprus, Rene Troccaz, whose term of office in Nicosia is soon coming to an end, expressed France’s strongest solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus.
Troccaz recalled that Cyprus received the French Presidenc Emmanuel Macron during the MED 7 Summit held in Nicosia at the end of January 2019, noting that Macron expressed during this meeting, “in the clearest way our strongest solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus and our commitment to its sovereignty. This is the constant position of France. For us, Cyprus is a partner within the European Union and an ally,” he underlined.
Moreover, he said that France supports efforts for a Cyprus settlement. “On this, we have been consistent in our views towards the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who are working for the solution. For us, a fair settlement must comply with the UN resolutions and respect the acquis Communautaire,” he noted.
He went on to say that France wants the UN peacekeeping force to remain in Cyprus “not by conservatism but to ensure the safety of the island.”
Troccaz said that this year has confirmed the strength of the French-Cypriot friendship and referred to the many exchanges of officials’ visits that took place between the two countries.
“Our cooperation is actively developing. French investors come to Cyprus or consolidate their position”, he said referring to concrete examples such as TOTAL.
“He also said that in defence, our cooperation is making a significant progress. This cooperation is developing on an equal footing. This is the common intention of our two countries. This is what we have been doing for the past two years,” Troccaz stressed.
On his part, Foreign Minister Christodoulides expressed absolute satisfaction about the high and excellent level of relations between Cyprus and France, as well as their excellent cooperation at the bilateral, European and multilateral level.
Referring to the relations between Cyprus and France in the fields of security and defence, he described them as excellent, noting that the two countries want to expand them even more. Cyprus and France share the same concerns about the developments in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and the same vision for peace, security and stability in the broader region, he noted.
He described France as a close partner and ally of Cyprus within the EU and further than that, while referring to the cooperation of the two countries in the field of Energy he said that it has produced remarkable results.
“With no doubt the energy plans of the Republic of Cyprus and our cooperation with the French company TOTAL have opened new prospects for the relations of the two countries. The common will to upgrade the French presence in energy developments in the region will serve not only our common interests, but also Europe’s energy security,” he added.
Christodoulides also thanked Troccaz for his continuous efforts while serving as the Ambassador of France to Cyprus to strengthen the relations between the two countries.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Turkey issued in May a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is anchored in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s northeastern coast on Monday.