President Nicos Anastasiades pledged that he is going to the meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci determined and with goodwill to work for an acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.
The President spoke to the press on Friday at the Presidential Palace, prior to his meeting with Akinci at the residence of UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar in the UN-controlled Nicosia airport. The meeting is not open to the media other than two official photographers and camera crews.
Asked what are his expectations from today’s meeting, which was described by the UN as an informal one, the President said that he is fully determined and has the goodwill and determination to work with Akinci for a solution that could be accepted by the international community and most important by the residents of Cyprus.
He called on Akinci to realize what is the most important of all, is to have mutual respect and take into account what each state seeks, namely the international law and Cyprus’ status as an EU country. He said that if all the above are taken into consideration we could work so that the solution is accepted by the international community, but especially by those who will be affected, by the residents of Cyprus.
The President went on to say that we cannot appeal to principles that do not apply in any other state. He added that we need to address the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots, but we cannot overlook those of the Greek Cypriots.
President Anastasiades called on Ankara to change its stance. He said that if Turkey wants to help since the solution depends on its stance, should display goodwill by terminating its illegal actions or any actions which do not contribute to a good environment but rather undermine it.
Replying to a question about Turkey’s illegal activities related to the natural gas in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, the President said that the meeting is taking place to address any dangers related to the natural gas, the escalation of the standstill and to work for a solution that is in the framework of what has been decided.
He went on to say that we all seem to agree in what we declare but what is important is to determine, at the negotiating table, that what we adopt will indeed lead to a constructive dialogue and to a viable and functional solution.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Turkey announced its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and send on 4 May 2019 the Turkish drillship “Fatih”, which remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula, in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. A second Turkish drillship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s north-eastern coast on 8 July 2019.
In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.