Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, has expressed hope that despite the remaining disagreements there will soon be an opportunity for the resumption of a creative dialogue for a Cyprus settlement, as long as Turkey contributes towards this direction.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of a Cultural and Educational Centre at Sylikou village, in Limassol district, Anastasiades referred to the meeting he had on Friday with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, noting that it took place in a very positive climate.
“I hope that despite the remaining disagreements, we will soon have the opportunity for the resumption of a creative dialogue, if and as long as of course Turkey contributes towards this direction”, he said, noting that unfortunately through its illegal actions Ankara does not contribute to the creation of a good climate but instead increases the insecurity and the lack of trust between the two communities.
Anastasiades assured that “as we realize and share the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots we cannot even to a greater extent ignore the concerns of the Greek Cypriots, the prospects and the future they want to have, creating conditions of peaceful co-existence, a viable state first and most of all, on the basis and in the framework of the European acquis. We are a European country, we cannot lag behind other countries,” he added.
The President expressed hope that “apart from our own expressed good will, we shall meet, towards this direction, the will of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey as well”.
Anastasiades and Akinci decided on Friday to continue engaging in the efforts undertaken by the UNSG`s envoy Jane Holl Lute with the determination to finalize the Terms of Reference that would enable structured and results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement with a sense of urgency. They also announced their readiness to hold a tripartite meeting with the Secretary-General after the United Nations General Assembly in order to plan the way forward.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. 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 announced its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and send on 4 May 2019 the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, which remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula, 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 north-eastern coast on 8 July 2019.
In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.