President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades clarified that a conference on Cyprus is not feasible at a time when the country is threatened by Turkey.
Speaking to reporters after arriving in New York where he will address the UN General Assembly later next week, Anastasiades underlined that he has the political will and determination to contribute to efforts to draft the terms of reference that will allow the resumption of a constructive dialogue.
“This year’s General Assembly coincides will the UN effort to agree on the terms of reference allowing the resumption of a constructive dialogue. I come forward with determination and political will to contribute to what we are trying to achieve since the talks in Crans Montana failed”, the President said.
Noting that this week each side will be tested, the President said he did not believe that the Greek Cypriot side will be the one to topple the UNSG’s initiative.
“What I want to stress is that I remain committed to everything that we have agreed with (Mustafa) Akinci on the 9thAugust during our informal meeting , that I insist on what I have accepted which is nothing other than the first document which Mrs. Lute prepared on the first day”, ie 2nd September.
The UNSG had underlined that “prior to resuming full-fledged negotiations, the sides should agree on terms of reference that would constitute the consensus starting point for a possible negotiated conclusion to the Cyprus issue.”
President Anastasiades described as crucial the meeting he will have on the 27thof September with UNSG and later on with the representatives of the Five permanent Members of the UN Security Council, the Russian Foreign Minister and China’s FM. He also said that in his address to the UN General Assembly, he will refer to Turkey’s unlawful actions.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively.
Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast since July 8, operating within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus. The ship withdrew to Turkish territorial waters on September 17.
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.
Varosha is the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, often described as ‘ghost town’. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.
Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met with the refusal of the Turkish side, despite numerous decisions and resolutions by the UN, EU and other international institutions.
“It is inconceivable at a time when the SG is suggesting ways to resume a dialogue, for Turkey to question the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus in the country’s EEZ or on land with statements about settling the Varosha area”, the President added.
President Anastasiades underlined that Cyprus is not alone in its efforts, it is closely working with the Greek government and that after his speech on Thursday before the UN General Assembly he will meet with Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who will have already met with the Turkish President.
The President will also hold meetings with the Prime Ministers of India and Northern Macedonia, American-Jewish organisations and the diaspora leadership.
Asked how the SG will convene a tripartite meeting and then an informal conference on Cyprus if Turkey continues with its provocations, the President said this will not work.
President Anastasiades said he is certain that the SG would not convene a conference on Cyprus when Turkey continues to violate international law.
In his statements, President Anastasiades referred to the meetings Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides will have.
He also said that on Monday he will take part in the conference on Climate Change and will inform the SG on the initiatives that Cyprus is promoting.
“I have already informed 13 heads of state or government in the Middle East and the Arab Gulf about the initiative, he added.
On Sunday, President Anastasiades will meet the leadership of the American Jewish Committee and in the evening attend dinner with the leadership of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations.
On Monday, 23 September, President Anastasiades will hold meetings with Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People`s Republic of China and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
On the 24 September, President Anastasiades and First Lady Andri Anastasiades, will attend a reception hosted by the UN Secretary General for the heads of states who will take part in the General Assembly. He will also confer with Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev.
The Cypriot President will attend lunch hosted in honour of the heads of states and in the evening, President Anastasiades and the First Lady will attend a reception hosted by the US presidential couple.
On Thursday, 26 September, President Anastasiades will address the UN General Assembly and will meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He will also confer with India’s PM Narenda Modi. In the evening he will attend dinner hosted by the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations.
President Anastasiades’ meeting with SG Guterres will take place on 27 September. It will be followed by a meeting with Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He will also attend lunch hosted by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
During his stay in New York, the President will be accompanied by foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, the Republic’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis and other officials.
The President and his entourage return home on 29th September.