Newsroom / CNA
In an interview with the UAE television channel Alarabiya, defence minister Charalambos Petrides called on Turkey to accept the Republic of Cyprus’ invitation to engage in talks in view of reaching an agreement over the delimitation of the contested maritime zones between the two countries, or alternatively refer the issue to the International Court of Justice.
Referring to Turkey’s actions with regard to Varosha, Petrides said that irrespective of what the EU and indeed the Security Council of the UN has stated, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to open the ghost town in a manner contrary to the Security Council’s call for a transfer of the administration of the area to the UN so the lawful owners and legal inhabitants can return to their homes, in anticipation of an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Moreover, he said that Erdogan’s position for a two-state solution in Cyprus is in absolute contradiction to the agreed basis of a bizonal bicommunal federation that is provided in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with EU law, values and principles.
With regard to Turkey’s provocative behaviour against Cyprus, Petrides said that "at a time when Cyprus, along with other neighbouring and friendly countries, is trying to promote a new regional framework for cooperation of bilateral and trilateral partnerships, and is strengthening and increasing cooperation with Mediterranean EU powers and other neighbouring states, Turkey is the only state in the region that chooses provocations, escalations, threats and disinformation as a basis for its foreign policy.
He also referred to the EastMed Gas Forum, noting that unfortunately, Turkey excludes itself from it, adopting a completely irrelevant revisionist approach, expansionist behaviour and highly aggressive rhetoric towards anyone opposing its “illegal plans”.
The Minister stressed that Cyprus has no option but to continue to cooperate with all those who embrace common European principles, values and international law.
Referring to the Medusa military exercise, he noted that the exercise was launched in 2017 as an outcome of the trilateral defence cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.
“We consider it a very important exercise as it is a large scale, joint exercise with the participation of a large number of naval and air assets,” the defence minister added.
He said that it is especially important for building up interoperability and cooperation between our countries for promoting stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Petrides noted that "this year, for the first time, we are extremely grateful to have the United Arab Emirates and France joining this exercise. We welcome their participation and we are sure that both countries will contribute immensely to the goals of the exercise."
Petrides stressed that “the UAE’s interest for the stability in the Eastern Mediterranean is hugely important to us and to other partner countries in the region, including Greece, Egypt and very recently, Israel.”
As regards the message that is given through these drills, he noted that "we can demonstrate our willingness to work towards the goal of peace and stability as well as for countering threats and acts of provocation and aggression."
Referring to the bilateral cooperation between Cyprus and the UAE, Petrides said that Cyprus acts as a “bridge between the Gulf and the EU.”
Petrides said that Cyprus and the UAE have strong bonds of cooperation and friendship and that most recently at the joint ministerial committee at the level of Foreign Ministers, the two countries agreed a renewed and ambitious programme of bilateral cooperation in many areas such as trade, investments, culture, maritime, higher education and of course defence and security cooperation.