Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday that an invitation he has extended to Turkish Cypriots to rejoin the state institutions in accordance to the 1960 Constitution is not meant to be alternative to the agreed basis of a Cyprus solution but rather that it is meant to ease the community back into the state pending a final settlement.
President Anastasiades, who was addressing the 76th UN General Assembly in New York, also assured the assembly of his “determination to set the negotiation process back on track, on the basis of the UN framework and the agreement reached in Berlin on November 25, 2019.”
“For us, there is only one Plan,” he noted, “to reach a settlement on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded.”
Cyprus’ President said that all “new ideas put forward by our side, as asked by the Secretary – General and in an effort to move the process forward, are blatantly rejected.”
He outlined all such proposals including the decentralization of the exercise of powers, which we deem as the appropriate balance between the enhancement of the constituent states’ essential role and the unhindered functioning of the state, including at international level and the Greek Cypriot side’s willingness to consider the option of a parliamentary system with a ceremonial head of state and rotating Prime Minister.
Referring to his most recent proposal, that of inviting Turkish Cypriots to rejoin the state institutions established by the 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, he explained that “it goes without saying that such an invitation is not meant to be an alternative to the agreed basis of the settlement.”
It is meant, he added, “to ease the Turkish Cypriot community back into the State pending a final settlement, provided a strategic agreement is reached, thus, fully participating in the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus into a Federal State.”
This proposal, he continued, “should also be assessed in conjunction with the package of game changing, win – win, Confidence Building Measures I proposed last December and unfortunately rejected by the Turkish side.”
“Confidence Building Measures which are on the table even now,” he noted.
In his address President Anastasiades criticised Turkey’s stance pointing out, among other things, that the narrative put forward by the Turkish side, “according to which all efforts to reach a compromise have failed and we should seek solutions outside the UN framework, reinforces the valid arguments that Turkey’s end game is not to solve the Cyprus problem, but to turn Cyprus into its protectorate.”
“It is not my intention to engage on a blame game, but I cannot leave unnoticed the absurdity of the Turkish rhetoric, which lies in their claim that the efforts for a compromise have been exhausted and the focus should now be on reaching a settlement based on the so-called ‘realities on the ground’”, he said.
In turn, he posed a series of questions to the UN General Assembly participants, recalling among other things, that 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member-state, remains under Turkish military occupation, with more than forty thousand troops still on the ground, that after the Turkish invasion of 1974, one third of the Greek Cypriots were forced to leave their ancestral homes that almost 1,000 missing persons from that time are still missing, that the demographic character of the island has been altered by implanting illegal Turkish settlers and on the non-implementation of the 1975 Agreement on the enclaved persons.
He also referred to the establishment of an illegal entity in the occupied areas, which has been described by the European Court of Human Rights as “a subordinate local administration” of Turkey and among others that the Security – Council called for its reversal and for all states and the international community as a whole, not to accept it or in any way assist it.
President Anastasiades cited Turkish President Tayyip Ergodan’s reference during his address that “we hope that the problems regarding maritime boundary delimitation will be resolved within the framework of international law and good neighbourly relations.”
“Really, I wonder as to which international law Mr. Erdogan refers to,” he noted.
He posed the question how Erdogan understands the settlement of disputes concerning delimitations, wondering if he is “referring to Turkey’s own arbitrary interpretation of international law which reduces the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus by 44%, at the expense of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.” He also recalled that Turkey still occupies Cyprus and posed a series of questions about Turkey’s role in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Greece and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Referring to the narrative put forward by the Turkish side the end game of who is to turn Cyprus into its protectorate he elaborated that “in his report of 28 September 2017, about the outcome of the Conference on Cyprus at Crans Montana, on paragraph 27 the UN Secretary – General correctly assessed that all internal elements included in his six – point framework were almost, or about to, be solved.”
“Thus, whilst the aim of the Secretary – General to reach a strategic agreement was within close reach, the reason of the unsuccessful outcome was Turkey’s inflexible stance and insistence on maintaining the anachronistic Treaty of Guarantee, the right of intervention and a permanent presence of troops,” President Anastasiades said.
He also referred to the Joint Understanding on November 25, 2019 as to the principles which should guide the resumption of a new round of negotiations, namely: The Joint Declaration of 2014, Convergences reached so far, and, the six-point framework presented by the UN Secretary -General at Crans Montana.
“Following the above, one would expect the next step to be the resumption of the negotiations,” Cyprus President noted.
Nevertheless, he added, “with Turkish objectives being different, we witnessed blatant interventions of Turkey to oust the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, with whom the above Joint Understanding was reached.”
According to President Anastasiades, “the evident goal was for him to be replaced by a new leadership which reproduces and adopts Turkey’s position for changing the agreed basis for a settlement, with the ultimate goal being a two-state solution.”
“Thus, it is clear why a compromise is not possible to reach when one side deviates from the UN framework or annuls agreements reached and aspires to a different form of settlement, contrary to the agreed basis and the good offices mandate of the Secretary – General,” he said.
Part of the Turkish agenda, he noted, “is also the creation of new faits accomplis on the ground in Famagusta, in full contravention and violation of the relevant UN Security – Council resolutions, and in particular five- fifty and seven eighty – nine.”
All such actions, President Anastasiades pointed out, “are clearly intended to destroy the prospects of a settlement based on the agreed UN framework.”
At another point during his address, he also noted that “taking into account the alarming projections concerning the impact of climate change on our immediate region, namely the Eastern Mediterranean and the greater Middle East, Cyprus has undertaken a coordinating role for developing a Regional Action Plan, consisting of two distinct components: a scientific and, subsequently, an intergovernmental one.”
On Afghanistan, President Anastasiades said that “we share a collective responsibility to uphold international humanitarian law, particularly as regards the protection of women and minorities.”
“We also need to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for terrorism and extremism, or a breeding ground for organised crime, weapons and drug trafficking and renewed waves of illegal migration,” he added.
According to President Anastasiades “another region which is also considered synonymous with discord and strife is the Middle East and North Africa.”
In this regard, he pointed out, “Cyprus, as a strong proponent of the ideal that the Eastern Mediterranean and the greater Middle East can become an area of stability, peace and cooperation, strives to actively promote an enhanced network of regional cooperation.”
In his address, Cyprus` President also spoke of the his disappointment about the gap between words and deeds of the organisation. “Unfortunately – and we have to be honest with ourselves – selfish interests hinder the founding principles of the United Nations, in which the humanity has vested its hopes for a prosperous and peaceful future,” he noted.
According to him, in order to achieve this objective, there is only one answer: “Multilateralism, tangible solidarity and stronger partnerships, based on a positive agenda.”
“It is for this reason that we lend our unwavering support to the reform and revitalization priorities of the Secretary – General which aim to reinforce the effectiveness of the Organisation and further advance peace-keeping and peace-building, humanitarian assistance and long-term development and growth,” President Anastasiades said.