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21 May, 2024
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Anastasiades: Cyprus won't hesitate to veto EU-Turkey customs union

President Anastasiades said Cyprus won't hesitate to block EU-Turkey customs union efforts if Ankara does not meet its obligations to member states, Cyprus problem included


Turkey’s pursuit for two states in Cyprus will not come to fruition because it is an unacceptable solution, said Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

In an interview on Monday with Greek Television ERT, the President reiterated his determination to participate in the informal conference on Cyprus to be held at the end of the month in Geneva, and said he hopes for a constructive dialogue that will allow the resumption of talks seeking a Cyprus solution from the point they left off during the last round of negotiations held at Crans-Montana in 2017.

“We have achieved a number of convergences, the legislative and judicial authority issues have been agreed”, the President remarked, noting that significant issues are still pending, such as the executive issue, property, territorial adjustments, as well as the major issues of guarantees and the presence of troops.

“Listening to positions expressed by the Turkish government and the Turkish Cypriot leader, that of two states, as well as sovereign equality the way they interpret it, I wouldn’t say I am optimistic”, the President said, adding that he is going to the conference with the hope that discussions there will create the conditions that will overturn any claims which do not have to do with the interests of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, but with the interests of Turkey.

President Anastasiades urged Ankara to realise that its aim for two states is considered unacceptable by all, including the US, Russia, China and other permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations and the EU.

He said there is a convergence of positions between Greece and Cyprus on defending their rights as two sovereign, independent states, adding that any aggressive actions against Greece or Cyprus violate international law. Athens and Nicosia, he added have common views on how to handle Turkish provocations, he said.

“The doctrine of solidarity that prevails between European countries does not allow indifference on the part of Europe,” noting that despite the interests of certain EU member states that depend on the Turkish economy, Cyprus and Greece have managed to bring the fore violations of international law by Turkey such as its drilling activities in the two countries’ EEZs and even developments in Varosha. As a result, Anastasiades said, the non-violation of the sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus and the non-repetition of aggressive behaviours have now been installed as conditions for the adoption of a positive agenda in Euro-Turkish relations.
Without wanting to name countries, Anastasiades said there are countries that are tied to the Turkish economy through their weapons industries or banking systems, or even due to exports of industrial goods, with these countries therefore unwilling to exacerbate the already strained Turkish economy. Anastasiades said three of these countries hold powerful positions and are mounting pressure for the non-imposition of sanctions against Turkey. Ultimately, Anastasiades said "we have the verbal support, what we are missing is the practical support.”

Anastasiades stressed that Nicosia has made clear that it would only stand in favour of improving EU-Turkey relations on the condition that Turkey constructively assists in bringing about positive developments in the Cyprus problem, otherwise Cyprus will not hesitate to veto the customs union between the EU and Turkey if the latter does not meet its obligations to member states.

Cyprus  |  problem  |  Greece  |  Turkey  |  EU  |  customs union  |  EEZ  |  Varosha  |  Geneva

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