President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday that he was saddened to hear about the latest statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, noting that “they convey in essence the message that the Turkish side is not returning to the negotiating table if the requirements it is putting forward are not met.”

In a written announcement, the President noted moreover that with Turkey’s threats and the conditions Ankara is setting there can be no positive climate, but these actions rather taint efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s.

Reiterating his resolve ahead of a tripartite meeting with the UN Secretary-General, next week in Berlin, President Anastasiades also underlined the stated political will of the Greek Cypriot side to conclude the terms of reference in order to create the conditions of a creative dialogue to conclude to a truly functioning and viable Cyprus settlement, in line with UN resolutions and without guarantors, foreign troops or dependencies.

Our goal was and remains the creation of a truly independent and sovereign state, safeguarding the human rights of all Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, on the basis of EU principles, the President concluded.

Pope Francis invited to visit Cyprus
President Anastasiades, who is on an official visit to the Vatican, met on Monday with Pope Francis, at the Holy See. According to an announcement by the Presidency of the Republic, they discussed various international problems humanity is facing, such as combating slavery, climate change, the refugee crisis, and conflicts around the world and in the Middle East. Moreover, the President said that he had the chance to elaborate on the problem Cyprus is facing for the last 45 years, as well as on the initiatives of the UN Secretary-General so far, in order to solve the problem.

The President also invited Pope Francis to visit Cyprus, with the pontiff accepting the invitation. The visit will take place in 2020 when the Republic of Cyprus celebrates 60 years since its establishment. This coincides with 10 years since the previous leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict, visited the island.

As the President said, the pontiff not only listened, but also knew and understands the difficulties caused as a result of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of Cyprus and due to its illegal actions.

During the meeting, President Anastasiades was accompanied by his spouse, Andri Anastasiades, and a delegation from Cyprus comprising the Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prdromou, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the Holy See Giorgos Poulides and other officials.

The President of Cyprus arrived on Monday morning and was officially welcomed at the Vatican. He had a tete-a-tete with Pope Francis and was later joined by the members of the Cyprus delegation.

The President also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See. The President said in his statements that in his contacts with both Vatican officials he detailed the problems while trying to solve the Cyprus issue, and referred to the efforts of the UN Secretary-General. He also reiterated his resolve in attending the tripartite meeting in Berlin, on November 25, in order to be able to resume the dialogue from were it was left off at Crans Montana.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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