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23 May, 2024
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Anastasiades: We accept political equality

Cypriot President responds to Erdogan's comment on ''ill-intentions'' of those that seek ''zero security, zero guarantees''


At the general debate of the 74th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations President Anastasiades responded to accusations made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by declaring that the Greek Cypriot side has accepted political equality during talks with the Turkish Cypriots. The abolition of the Treaty of Guarantees he reiterated does not entail ''ill-intentions''. 

Here is an excerpt from the President's speech at the UN on the Cyprus issue:

Anastasiades: Which other of the 193 UN member-states is under Guarantees by a third country?

[The last 45 years we are undertaking the same positive initiatives in order to end the unacceptable status quo and achieve lasting peace and stability in my homeland. 

A status quo which is the result of the illegal Turkish invasion in 1974, the violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, the consequent military occupation of more than a third of the country and the forcible displacement of 40 per cent of its population.

Ever since, despite the sincere efforts and the constructive engagement of both mine and my predecessors towards a settlement, Cyprus remains the last European divided country.

We are currently in the midst of a new effort, providing a glimmer of hope.

I wish to stress in the strongest manner my full dedication and support to this new effort of the UN Secretary – General to resume the process from where it stopped at Crans Montana.

In this context and following a call from the Secretary – General for an agreed basis for the resumption of negotiations, there is an understanding by the leaders of the two communities that the relevant “Terms of Reference” should comprise the following elements:

(i) The Joint Declaration of 11 February, 2014, which sets out the basic guidelines and principles for the framework of the sought after solution, as well as the methodology of the negotiating process;

(ii) The convergences achieved that had led to holding the Conference on Cyprus at Crans Montana, and;

(iii) The six-point framework of the UN Secretary – General on Security and Guarantees, Troops, Effective Participation, Territorial adjustments, Property and Equitable Treatment, as presented on June 30, 2017 at Crans Montana.

Such an understanding, could pave the way forward for the resumption of talks with the sole aim to reach a comprehensive settlement on the basis of what has been agreed as a historic compromise by our side:

The evolution of the Republic of Cyprus into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements, with a single sovereignty, a single international legal personality and a single citizenship.

A settlement that will establish a viable, functional and lasting federal State, free from foreign dependencies, foreign troops and rights of intervention by third countries.

A settlement that will not deviate from the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the EU values and principles.

And I want to send a clear message: The United Nations and the Secretary – General’s Good Offices Mission is the only way forward for us.

Regrettably, whilst the efforts of resuming the negotiating process are underway, recent actions by Turkey not only violate international law, but severely undermine the aim of having a conducive environment for meaningful negotiations.

While I do not intent to embark on a blame game, yet, I am not allowed, and the dignity of our people dictates not to do so, to accept the gun-boat diplomacy, blackmail tactics and the attempts to force our side to negotiate under duress.

Is it possible for the efforts of the Secretary – General to succeed while Turkey is violating the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its internationally recognised exclusive economic zone and continental shelf?

Or when Turkey threatens Cyprus that there will be severe consequences if we proceed ahead with our energy programme?

Or when Turkey threatens neighboring states and energy companies, with which we are cooperating and have established conventional obligations?

Is it possible for the efforts of the Secretary – General to succeed when recent public statements and acts by Turkish officials, signaling to plans for settling the fenced area of Varosha, the uninhabited part of Famagusta, under illegal Turkish military occupation?

As regards Varosha, I wish to stress that its distinct status was recognised in all reports of the Secretary General and the UN operations in Cyprus.

More specifically, the framework for the resettlement of Varosha by its lawful inhabitants under UN auspices was set as a priority, both by the 1979 High-Level agreement between the leaders of the two communities and the UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789.

In this regard, we deeply appreciate the recent reaffirmation by the UN Secretary – General that the position of the United Nations on the matter remains unchanged and guided by the said Security Council Resolutions.

As we speak we are also confronted with an increasingly aggressive positioning of the Turkish military and an escalation of violations in the buffer zone.

All these developments make the role of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and the fulfilment of its mandate more necessary than ever.

And as if it is not enough that we are confronted with the above-mentioned challenges, the Turkish President, Mr. Erdogan, two days ago in this Assembly, embarked on misleading allegations.

He referred, amongst others, to an uncompromising position of the Greek Cypriot side and that those who claim to solve the Cyprus Problem under the condition of “zero security, zero guarantees” have ill-intentions from the beginning.

And I wonder:

(i) Is it uncompromising and an ill-intention to aspire establishing an independent and sovereign State, free from the presence of occupation troops?

(ii) Is it uncompromising and an ill-intention to envision terminating an anachronistic Treaty of Guarantees and establishing a robust system of security, based on the Charter of the UN and the Treaties of the EU?

(iii) Which other of the 193 UN member-states is under Guarantees by a third country?

(iv) Is it uncompromising and an ill-intention to aspire establishing a normal State in which all decisions will only be taken by Cypriots, free from foreign dependencies?

He also alleged that the Greek Cypriot side refuses to share the political power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots.

Do we refuse to share political power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots, when:

(i) We have accepted political equality as defined by the Secretary – General and upheld by Security Council Resolutions.

(ii) The Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, within the context of the negotiating process, reached an agreement on the issue of natural resources, in line with the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea.

(iii) We have also conveyed our readiness, always within the framework of meaningful negotiations, to deposit revenues accrued from the exploitation of hydrocarbons to an escrow account for the Turkish Cypriot community.

An escrow account through which we are protecting the rightful share of the Turkish Cypriot community, in accordance with the population ratio of the future constituent states.

President Erdogan also claimed that Turkey has a reasonable approach on the issue of energy resources and that they will protect the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriots until the very end.

(i) Is it a reasonable approach to unilaterally and unlawfully conduct hydrocarbon exploration drillings in another country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, through the threat of use of force?

And I wonder:

Whose interests is Turkey protecting when its claims limit for its own benefit the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus by 44%, at the expense of the rights and interests of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots?

As I have stated, it was not and it is not my intention to embark on a confrontation. To the contrary, I fully ascribe to Mr. Erdogan’s emotional concluding remarks, as they encapsulate the essence of what we are trying to achieve in Cyprus: “Freedom, peace, prosperity, justice and a peaceful and safe future for all”.

This is my vision. This is the vision of the people of Cyprus: To end the unacceptable status quo with a state which will ensure common and prosperous future for the coming generations of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

A future which will allow them to live freely together and jointly collaborate, under conditions of stability, safety and peaceful co-existence. Only then we will able to utilize the yet unfulfilled potential and capabilities of our country.

I will not deviate from pursuing this vision and I do call on Your solidarity in supporting the efforts to reach a solution on the Cyprus problem.

This is not only to the interest of the people of Cyprus, but also to the interest of Turkey, of the region and the international community.

I might have devoted a large part of my speech on the Cyprus Problem. I do not neglect however or overlook the vast importance of global challenges, particularly poverty, climate change and sustainable development.

The only solution in tackling these challenges rests to the decisiveness of the UN member-states, so as to finally leave aside short-term interests and expediencies and reach a joint understanding of the need to fully adhere to the UN Charter, resolutions and decisions of our common family.

Only then we will fulfill our collective aims and targets and bestow a better future to our children, grandchildren and the generations to come.]

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  Anastasiades  |  Erdogan  |  UNGA

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