President Nicos Anastasiades was due to leave on Sunday for the US for a visit the government spokesman said on Sunday had three objectives, the Cyprus issue, foreign investment and energy.
Especially important would be his meetings with the UN Secretary-General and the British foreign minister, Nicos Christodoulides said on the sidelines of a memorial service on Sunday morning.
“The visit of the president to the US is designed to serve three very specific objectives,” he said.
“First is the Cyprus issue. Through meetings with the UN Secretary-General, the British Foreign Secretary, and other foreign countries officials, the President will present the state of affairs as to why the talks are not being conducted but also the need that when they are restarted, the dialogue will not serve positions that are beyond the EU’s principles and values or positions beyond the agreed framework to resolve the Cyprus issue so that there is potential to reach a positive result.”
He was referring to Turkey’s demand for the EU’s four freedoms to be granted to Turkish nationals after a solution.
“The meetings of the president with the SG and with the British foreign minister are particularly important,” he added.
Anastasiades will also address an investment forum on Cyprus on March 22 along with three of his ministers. The forum will be attended by big business and also by energy giants such as ExxonMobil.
“Our country is recognised as a pillar of stability in the region and we should use this comparative advantage,” said Christodoulides.
“The president will also have important meetings with the heads of energy giants operating in Cyprus and others interested in doing business.”
Asked about the messages arriving from the Diaspora with regard to how the new US administration is viewing Cyprus, the spokesman said: “We are absolutely realistic. Each government, as is the case with the US government, aims primarily to serve its own interests”.
“It is important that the role of Cyprus in the region is recognised, and the role it can play as a pillar of stability and we should take advantage of this fact in our relations with the US,” he added.
To another question related to comments by the UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide that the key to a solution lies in Nicosia, Christodoulides said: “Everyone knows why there is no progress on the Cyprus issue. Everyone knows why there is stagnating at the moment.”
He was referring to the fact that it was Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who walked away from the talks last month after the House voted to commemorate a 1950 plebiscite on Enosis, union with Greece, in state schools. The Greek Cypriot side maintains that Akinci and Turkey used this as a pretext to halt the talks until a constitutional referendum in Turkey on April 16.
“Even the UN secretary-general himself is aware that the responsibilities weigh on Turkey,” said the spokesman who will travel with the president to the US.
The spokesman also commented on Turkish actions such the military exercise off Paphos and how this would affect the Cyprus issue. Turkey has issued NOTAMs for aeronautical exercises near the coastal town. “This is not a development in the right direction. These are developments which are known to the international community and reinforce the position about who is responsible for the current state of affairs,” he said.
Speaking on Saturday, Anastasiades said that in his upcoming meeting with the UN Secretary-General, in New York he would express the will of the Greek Cypriot side to continue the dialogue on the Cyprus problem.
When he arrives, the president will attend a dinner hosted in his honour by Cypriot expatriates in the US.
On March 21, Anastasiades will mark the end of the trading day at the New York stock exchange.
The next day, in addition to meeting with UNSG Antonio Guterres, Anastasiades will have a meeting with Archbishop Demetrios of America, before addressing the international Invest in Cyprus conference at the Metropolitan Club.
The forum is organised by Capital Link, in cooperation with the Cypriot association of ship-owners, the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, and the commercial chambers of Cyprus and USA.
It aims to inform large American corporations and investors of the investment opportunities available in Cyprus and promote business and commercial cooperation.
Also on March 22, Anastasiades will attend a working dinner with ExxonMobil officials.
On March 23, he will hold separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Britain, Boris Johnson, and Slovakia, Miroslav Lajcak.
Lajcak will chair the 72nd general assembly of the United Nations.
The president will depart New York on the night of March 23 for Rome, where he will attend the leaders’ summit of the European Union marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.