President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said he hoped Turkey will revisit its intransigent positions in the areas of security and guarantees and as regards demands that are not in line with Cyprus’ capacity as a member state of the EU, so as to create sound prospects of achieving an overall agreement on the island.
Speaking on Monday during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, where he received the credentials of the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt Mai Taha Mohammed Khalil, the President underlined “our unwavering determination to end the division of the island and our commitment to exert every effort to reach a comprehensive settlement”.
He also conveyed the message “in the clearest terms that we are strongly committed to negotiate a solution within the parameters that the Secretary-General set, for a viable comprehensive settlement fully in line with European and international law that reunites Cyprus in a truly independent and sovereign state, free of any third country dependencies that will offer the prospect of prosperity and peaceful co-existence for all its citizens”.
The President of Cyprus referred moreover to the shared desire of Cyprus and Egypt to promote peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean through regional cooperation, as manifested in the Tripartite Summit between Cyprus-Egypt-Greece, the fifth round of which will take place in Cyprus on 21 November 2017.
President Anastasiades also reiterated his appreciation for the strong support of Egypt to the efforts to end the unacceptable status quo and reunite Cyprus and its people, in line with the relevant UN Council Resolutions, the EU values and principles, the High-Level Agreements between the leaders of the two communities and the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014.
“The principled position of your Government strongly supports our continuous efforts to reach a just, viable and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem” he underlined.
President Anastasiades said he is looking forward to welcoming Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Cyprus on November 20, noting that the visit “will allow us both to take stock and promote further our bilateral cooperation, both in existing and new fields”.
“Cyprus has always been an avid proponent of the position that Egypt remains a source of stability and an important partner for the European Union” the President noted and said that Cyprus remains a partner Egypt can rely on.
“We stand ready to continue our cooperation with Egypt to intensify efforts to tackle regional challenges, to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, increase information sharing and promote regional security” he said.
The President of Cyprus further said that Egypt remains a trusted partner of Cyprus and of the EU and commended Egypt’s role in the conclusion of the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas, on October 12, in Cairo, in the context of the intra-Palestinian reconciliation.
Concerning the latest effort for a Cyprus settlement, President Anastasiades said he regretted Turkey’s unwillingness to negotiate within the framework set by the UN Secretary-General.
He referred in particular to Turkey’s intransigent stance on the key Chapters of Security and Guarantees and its insistence on maintaining guarantees, troops and intervention rights in reunited Cyprus, noting that they did not allow for a positive outcome to be reached during the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana, Switzerland, last July.
“Acting within the framework of the UN Secretary-General, the Greek Cypriot side submitted comprehensive proposals” on all thematic areas identified, the President said.
He noted, however, that the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side submitted proposals, which were not only contrary to the ideas set by the UN, but also contravened EU law and the Charter of the United Nations.
“It is deeply disappointing that at a critical point in the process, when Turkey was called to prove in a tangible manner its rhetoric that it is committed to a solution, it merely repeated its well-known unacceptable positions” the President noted.
The President of Cyprus also referred to the financial crisis that hit Cyprus, adding that today, we can proudly –once more- connect Cyprus to growth and potential.
“Our plan has been to continuously improve the country’s business environment, so as to reinforce the position of Cyprus as a competitive, innovative, stable and fully transparent destination for business and investment” he said.
The President underlined that despite the economic difficulties, the country’s comparative advantages not only remain intact, but have been further enhanced and expanded, setting them apart from most investment destinations.
The Presidint said finally that attracting investors is the Government’s most important priority, following the restoration of the state’s and the financial system’s credibility. He highlighted Energy, Tourism, Shipping, Real Estate, Education, Health, Transport, Research and Innovation as some of Cyprus’ economic sectors with growth opportunities.
The President welcomed finally the Ambassador to Cyprus, and wish her every success.
From her part, Ambassador Khalil assured that Egypt firmly believes in the possibility of solving the Cyprus issue, on the basis of the principles of International law, relevant United Nations resolutions and respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus.
“Egypt spares no effort in every forum to express its solidarity with the Cypriot government in its quest for peaceful settlement of the dispute” she added and conveyed the sincerest greetings of President El-Sissi.
She also referred to the upcoming visit of Egypt’s President “the first bilateral visit of an Egyptian President to Cyprus and the second for President El-Sissi”.
Such historical moment highlights not only the deep rooted historical ties between the two countries, but also its developing and evolving nature, the Ambassador said.
She said finally that Egypt appreciates the support and understanding by the Cypriot government and noted that new windows of opportunities have been opened in all fields especially cooperation in the areas Of Energy, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Defence.