The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades on Friday expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the European Council summit in Brussels that drew to a close after marathon talks on Thursday night and early Friday morning,
Anastasiades said that after months of consistent effective diplomacy, the conclusions of the special Council meeting on the EU’s strategic relationship with Turkey and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean creates the prospect for the termination of Turkey’s illegal activities and for the resumption of Cyprus problem negotiations.
Speaking at a press conference held in Brussels after the conclusion of the summit, Anastasiades said that “during the long meeting, there was extensive discussion on ways to create a climate that will enable a partnership between the EU and Turkey, which will be based on the principles and values of the Union, as well as international law.”
“The unanimous position, and I want to emphasize this, of all the leaders, as a prerequisite for this, that is, for a partnership, is the termination of Turkey's illegal actions that infringe on the sovereign rights of Cyprus and Greece and that are contrary to international law.”
Anastasiades added that “various proposals were made on the methodology and tactics to be followed, including the immediate imposition of sanctions or allowing diplomacy to be initiated by the President of the Council and the country holding the EU Presidency and, in the event of failure, for a decision to be taken at the next European Council Summit in December.”
As explicitly stated in paragraph 20 of the conclusions , Anastasiades said, “in the event of continuing unilateral actions or provocations in breach of international law, the EU will use all the means and options at its disposal, inter alia, in accordance with Article 29 of the EU Treaty and Article 215 of the EU Operational Treaty, in order to defend its interests and the interests of its Member States”.
Anastasiades reiterated the position that “sanctions are not and end in themselves. What matters is the cessation of Turkey's illegal actions and the creation of the necessary positive climate, in order to give ground to a fruitful dialogue for a final settlement of the Cyprus problem.”
Anastasiades satisfied with summit conclusions
“I would like to express my satisfaction with the results of the Summit, as the text of the Conclusions explicitly:
A. Calls on Turkey to refrain from unilateral actions violating international law, reaffirming the full solidarity of the Council of the EU with Greece and Cyprus, whose sovereignty and sovereign rights must be respected.
B. Condemns but also calls on Turkey to end and refrain in the future from the violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.
C. Calls on Turkey to accept Cyprus' invitation to participate in a dialogue on the demarcation of the maritime zones between Cyprus and Turkey under international law.
D. At the same time, the Council supports the rapid resumption of negotiations and remains committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of UN resolutions and in accordance with EU principles, while at the same time calling on Turkey to respond in the same way. To this end, the EU expresses its readiness to actively contribute to the support of the negotiations by appointing a representative to a new summit on Cyprus.
E. Special mention is made of respecting UN Security Council Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992) concerning the return of Varosha to their rightful owners and residents.
F. A clear condition is set that in order to launch a positive EU-Turkey political agenda, the illegal actions against Greece and Cyprus must end.
I have to admit that it was the debate and reaching the unanimous decision was not as comfortable as we would have liked. There were differing views on the intensity of the expression of those desired clauses in order to express the full solidarity and determination of the EU to support such initiatives that prevent Turkey from taking illegal action. Nevertheless, I am satisfied because through months of consistent effective diplomacy, the decision - and I emphasize this – creates the prospect of continuing the effort with the EU on our side, but also leading initiatives to end legal activities and, most importantly, to resume negotiations. All the conditions are down, and now Turkey has to decide how to act accordingly or which path to follow.”
Asked what the main point of contention was and whether he felt that the Council had a double standard tactic, the President said that "the disagreements were not about supporting the Republic of Cyprus, its sovereign rights or Greece. The disagreements were over the tactics or methodology we should follow to defend these rights. At no point did I feel alone. At my side I had not only the Prime Minister of Greece Mr. Mitsotakis, but also all the leaders, and I emphasize that. The disagreements were over the methodology for achieving the goal. That is, whether we will now impose sanctions on five or six companies and individuals, or whether, using diplomacy, we are giving another chance to de-escalate the crisis, end unilateral action and achieve the goal which is nothing more than creating the conditions for a creative and fruitful dialogue on final settlement of the Cyprus problem. Therefore, I expressed my satisfaction for that".
Asked if the diplomatic spending of recent weeks was worth it, President Anastasiadis said "absolutely. To achieve some goals you follow a specific tactic that should pay off what you seek. And I have the impression that following for months now both from the point of view of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and of course my own, we have succeeded in creating an even more intense interest from the EU in a collective way, for what is happening in Cyprus, for the disputes on the part of Turkey, for the legal claims on the part of the Republic of Cyprus, in order to set the framework, as I have mentioned above ".
Asked about the summit and the consultations being held on the eastern Mediterranean with regards to a Turkish Cypriot participation, the President said that "details such as the participation, the scope and the timetable should be agreed by all those involved. It has become clear both to me and to other leaders that only the Republic of Cyprus can be represented as it is represented in the European Council. The representation of any community in any capacity is not accepted and therefore it is determined that it must be agreed who are the participants, what is the agenda etc. It is an ambitious and welcome initiative, but it is under certain conditions".