President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has said that the UN Secretary General did not intend to raise the issue of an international conference on the Cyprus problem during his meeting in Geneva on July 7 with the leaders of the two communities.
Speaking at a press conference in Sidney, after concluding his official visit to Australia, President Christofias said that unfortunately he was not in a position to announce anything optimistic concerning developments in the Cyprus problem but at the same time did not want to appear pessimistic.
He said Turkey did not seem to be moving towards any shift in stance prior to Turkish elections, and described Turkey`s behaviour of the past few months as arrogant.
President Christofias said Turkey, through the Turkish Cypriot community, insists on the creation of two states in Cyprus, which the Greek Cypriot side could not accept, adding that the Greek Cypriot side is pursuing a solution providing for a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality, in line with UN resolutions, with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international identity.
Referring to talks to solve the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said the Turkish side`s good will is questionable, adding that the course of the talks would be reviewed on July 7 in Geneva and the further steps would be determined.
“We are making clear that we insist on our agreement with the Secretary General that there will be no strict timetables for the talks, that there will be no arbitration, as in the past, and that the role of the UN is to facilitate,“ he said.
President Christofias noted that the Turkish government was promoting a conference on the Cyprus problem with the participation of the three guarantor powers, namely the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey, and even the EU, to discuss all pending issues.
He said the Greek Cypriot side was in favour of a conference that would be convened by the UN Security Council, with the participation of its permanent members, the guarantor powers, the two communities, and the Republic of Cyprus, to discuss international aspects of the Cyprus issue, such as the guarantees, the withdrawal of troops and the issue of settlers.
President Christofias said that on July 7 the UN Secretary General did not intend to raise the issue of an international conference.
Referring to the issue of properties, President Christofias said the so-called compensation committee in the Turkish occupied areas was giving compensation to Greek Cypriot refugees for their properties that was much lower than their actual value, and that interstate appeals provide the Republic of Cyprus with many arguments.
“Our side insists on the fundamental principle that the issue of properties should take into consideration the wishes of the owner,“ he said, adding that “we have differences with the Turkish Cypriot side that attributes great importance to compensation.“
Referring to the destruction of cultural heritage in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, President Christofias said the actions of the Turkish occupation army have been reported to the UN and UNESCO, as well as other organisations, and the Vatican.
Asked about the 2013 presidential elections, President Christofias said that “the solution of the Cyprus problem is my life`s aim, otherwise I would not have run for the presidency of the Republic of Cyprus,“ adding that running for a second term would depend on developments in the Cyprus problem.
To questions regarding the demonstrations of the Turkish Cypriots, President Christofias welcomed them and said “many Turkish Cypriots do not want Turkey, do not want the settlers, and want the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, to live together with the Greek Cypriots in conditions of peace and cooperation, in the framework of a federation.“
Asked about the role of the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer, President Christofias said Downer should play “a facilitating role, without proposals or interventions.“
Referring to his contacts in Australia, President Christofias said relations between the two countries are traditionally friendly, adding that there is mutual support and that Australia still maintains a police contingent in the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
He also pointed out the large Greek and Cypriot community in Australia, and the opportunity he had to reassure them of Cyprus` continuous support.