Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades says Nicosia’s energy plans are moving forward while criticizing Ankara for seeking preconditions for dialogue.
Anastasiades, who attended an event for the Maronite community on Sunday, told reporters that Nicosia would press on with energy plans even if Turkey were to propose a drilling freeze on all sides.
“We cannot relinquish our status as a state for the sake of dialogue just because Turkey is disputing us as a Republic,” Anastasiades said.
Greek Cypriot media over the weekend reported on sources saying Turkey was seeking international support in readying a plan to propose a halt on drilling activities and a resumption of peace talks.
'I want to make this clear once and for all. We accept political equality but we don’t accept political inequality'
Last month, Ankara threw a hint that it was in favour of a halt to drilling activities off the island's south, saying that otherwise Turkey would continue exploration in contested waters to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
Anastasiades said he was ready to engage with Turkey on a path to resume negotiations but rejected any preconditions that would “dispute sovereign rights.”
According to the Cyprus News Agency, the president said he was expecting what he thought would have been obvious.
“First, Turkey must give up any and all excessive claims and suggestions on how to solve particular issues that would themselves be part of the discussion, and second, it should end violations and illegal activities in the Republic of Cyprus both on soil and in maritime zones,” Anastasiades added.
The president’s remarks also touched on political equality, a key element in the negotiations and settlement talks in divided Cyprus, saying Greek Cypriots sympathized with the concerns raised by Turkish Cypriots, while adding that no one side should ever impose on the other.
“I want to make this clear once and for all. We accept political equality but we don’t accept political inequality,” Anastasiades said.
“Just as we share the concerns of Turkish Cypriots by saying say ‘yes’ to them having a say on matters that might potentially be important in their community, at the same time we also want them to understand that they cannot decide for us as well,” the president added.