For the first time after the Turkish invasion against Cyprus, we will have the opportunity to negotiate with those who bear the responsibility to achieve a solution of the Cyprus problem, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has said.

President Anastasiades, who was speaking on Wednesday during a press conference on his recent visit to the United States, pointed out that such a development upgrades rather than undermines the Republic of Cyprus.

During his introductory statement, he made it clear that the negotiator proposal, which was shaped in coordination with the Greek government, does not aim to convene a bilateral, trilateral or quadrilateral conference.

He also said that he will be visiting Athens in the coming days to meet with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and stressed that great national matters are not dealt via rhetoric but rather via responsible political decisions. At the same time, he warned of the dangers deriving from the lapse of time.

President Anastasiades referred to Cyprus’ relations with Israel, noting their transformation to strategic from friendly without compromising long standing close relationships with other countries in the region, as was confirmed during his meetings with the Presidents of Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.

He spoke of the enhancement of Cyprus’ geostrategic position due to the recent hydrocarbons discovery within its Exclusive Economic Zone. During the meetings he had in the United States Cyprus’ leading role in bringing together neighbouring countries on the production of hydrocarbons was welcomed, he noted.

According to Cyprus’ President, energy should not be a source of conflict but rather a catalyst towards the resolution of conflicts and regional integration.

Referring to the proposal for the Greek Cypriot negotiator to meet with Turkish government representatives, he highlighted the fact that the Cyprus problem has never been a bi-communal one, but a problem of invasion and occupation.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and occupied its northern third. Previous UN led efforts to reunify the island have failed.

Turkey, he pointed out, as an occupying power holds the key to a solution. He added that therefore, Turkey could not stay away from any talks on the matter, merely listening to others urging it to help resolve the problem.

At the same time, he welcomed Turkey’s decision to respond positively to his proposal and expressed the hope that this will be followed by practical and meaningful steps and a generally constructive stance of good faith, which will effectively contribute to finding a solution.

Referring to the various meetings he had during his visit in the US President Anastasiades said that he found that there was a lively international interest on the need to resolve the Cyprus problem, since, as he put it, everyone now recognizes Cyprus’ stabilizing role in the region.

He expressed the hope that the verbal support he received during his meetings will turn to practical support so that a lasting, functional solution can be achieved as soon as possible, in accordance with European principles and values.

He also called for unity at home, assuring that his wish,which he has so far proven in practice is that the policy followed on national issues is a product of dialogue and collectivity with all political parties.

During his introductory statement, President Anastasiades referred at length to the meetings himself and Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides had during their visit to the United States.

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