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17 September, 2019
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President: Failure in a new round of peace talks might change the basis of the dialogue

Anastasiades was speaking on the eve of his departure to New York

Newsroom / CNA

Failure in a new attempt to solve the Cyprus problem is likely to change the basis of the dialogue President Nicos Anastasiades has said in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency.

Anastasiades was speaking on the eve of his departure to New York where he will address the UN General Assembly and sit down with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to convince him to restart peace talks.

Asked if things have changed since the last failed attempt to reach a negotiated settlement in July 2017, the President replied: “Judging by the statements of Turkish officials and my informal meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader, in April, I would not say that there was the progress we had anticipated which would encourage the UNSG to undertake a new initiative or convene a new conference on Cyprus.”

We would wish to have the best of relations with Turkey provided they help us to find that solution

Anastasiades reiterated that it would be a non-starter if Turkey repeats the positions it maintained in during the peace summit in Crans Montana in July 2017.

“I have no wish to cultivate either optimism or pessimism. I am explaining what we are determined to do in order to achieve progress, find a way out of the deadlock but also avoid a failure which would change completely the basis of the dialogue, not because we want that to happen but because some of those involved or interested, might possibly have different thoughts and this would be the worst,” he pointed out.

Invited to define what the term “good preparation” for a new conference implies, the President said this is necessary in the sense that the UN will make an effort to understand the positions of the sides and how they are thinking. He reiterated his position that the guarantees must be abolished and that the Turkish occupation troops must withdraw. “Consequently, if we want a truly independent and sovereign state, these terms which Turkey maintains must end,” he said

Asked about the role of the Security Council in the Cyprus peace effort, President Anastasiades pointed out that he wants to have the active involvement of the SC in a conference on Cyprus, in addition to a role the Council could undertake relating to the implementation of a negotiated agreement.

With regard to the presence of UNFICYP on the island, he stressed that as long as the Cyprus problem remains unresolved, “the presence of the UN peace keeping force is absolutely necessary.”

“We would wish to have the best of relations with Turkey provided they help us to find that solution which would not create new conflict areas and which would allow us to prosper, restore trust between the island’s two communities, overcome the problems which the illegality of the current situation creates and feel that we are surrounded by friends,” he added.

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