Substantial confidence-building measures (CBMs) are not made to deceive the Turkish Cypriots, President Anastasiades said Sunday, responding to statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.
The President who delivered a speech at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace, on the Feast Day of Saint Maron, wondered what the deception may be in a proposal that seeks the implementation of the UN resolutions for the fenced-off town of Varosia and which provides for the lifting of the alleged isolation of the Turkish Cypriots with the operation of Tymbou airport, under UN administration.
President Anastasiades went on to say what the deceit is in the proposals that include the operation of the port of Famagusta and how compatible this is with the international law as it will allow ships carrying the Cypriot flag to approach Turkish ports or airplanes to fly over Turkish airspace.
Invited by the press after the event to say whether the government`s policy has changed from sanctions to CBMs, the President said that sanctions are on the table and are being processed. But at the same time, as a positive step in the effort to have the right environment for the resumption of the talks, our side has proposed CBMs. However, he noted, Turkey needs to end its illegal actions that are moving towards a fait accompli.
Asked about the fact that the Turkish Cypriot leader rejected the proposal for Famagusta, the President said that our side has already briefed the UN Secretary-General, the US government and the EU on our proposals. He said that next week he will also inform the French President and he will try to also brief the German chancellor. He reminded us that our proposal was submitted to the UN in December 2020.
The President stated that he has repeatedly said that the solution of the Cyprus problem will contribute significantly to the re-evaluation of the entire energy program so that Turkey`s aspirations or plans are not ignored, and Turkey has a say in the process for the utilization of natural gas wealth, provided that the international law of the sea is observed and as long as Turkey respects the exclusive economic zone of the neighboring states.
In his speech the President reiterated his will for a solution, emphasizing that this message was sent far and wide and to every international body. He spoke of his strong determination and will to work so that the feeling of security is safeguarded for every Cypriot, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Latins and Armenians.
He went on to underline that Cyprus is no less European than the rest of the European countries where there is a multicultural presence, and the message should be conveyed that the human rights of every Cypriot citizen are indiscriminately guaranteed.
President Anastasiades said that in the peace talks so far we have accepted decentralization of powers to make Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots feel secure that no one will interfere in their daily lives, political equality under conditions in a way that neither of the two communities will be allowed to dominate the other and through the talks, we have come to terms with the composition and operation of the legislature, the judiciary and executive powers.
He said that what was left to be secured was the concern of the Greek Cypriots that they will be under the influence of a third country.
The President said that with the solution, Turkey will benefit as well in its course to ascend to the EU.
He added that conditions for the exploitation of natural resources will be created, and the opportunity for peace to prevail throughout the region will be on the horizon.
He sent a message to both to the Turkish Cypriot leader, but especially to those who are currently in power in Turkey, to stop their unilateral, illegal actions, to stop interfering in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone in Famagusta, to stop violating the line of ceasefire, to ultimately respect the law and to stop having aspirations to usurp Greek Cypriot or Maronite properties.
In his speech, the President also sent messages to the Maronites, whom he described as a dynamic and productive group of people with a strong and active presence in the cultural, social and economic development of Cyprus and with a rich presence in arts and sciences. Moreover, they have contributed substantially to the development and prosperity of our common homeland and are at the forefront of the struggle for reunification.
The President also referred to targeted actions and decisions that have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented for the restoration and preservation of the religious and cultural heritage of the Maronites.
Cyprus remains divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Numerous rounds of talks under the aegis of the UN with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof failed to yield results.