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Anastasiades dismisses alternative strategies, BBF only solution for Cyprus

What are we to conclude when our president snubs the pro-settlement Turkish Cypriot leader and has a secret meeting with a politician that is fully aligned with Ankara’s pursuit of partition?

Talking abstractly about new strategies,  a Plan B or the notion of a two-state solution for Cyprus secures neither the conditions for peace, nor the well-being of Greek Cypriots, President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian New Agency on Saturday.

The interview was conducted in the run-up to the first round of elections on January 28, and the president was asked to comment on a statement made to Phileleftheros newspaper in November, where he said: “It is necessary to have an honest discussion with the political powers, so we can see what ‘plan B’ is.”

Regarding ‘plan B’ and asked about a ‘two-state’ solution with the return of some territory to the Greek Cypriot side, Anastasiades said: “This is simply and answer to all those who refer to a plan B, new strategies, and an unspecified repositioning of the Cyprus problem, without making clear what they mean, or if they mean anything.  Talking abstractly about other plans and solutions, secures neither conditions for peace, nor the Greek Cypriots, or the functioning of the state.”

He said his objective, as it was with all of his predecessors was a bizonal bicommunal federation (BBF).

“For there to be a Cyprus solution, it is necessary to have the positive cooperation and contribution of Turkey.  At Crans-Montana we did not settle, not because of Mr Akinci’s stance, or due to our relationship, but due to the negative stance Ankara had on the crucial issue of security and guarantees,” he said.

Commenting on the elections and the polls, which have shown him to be in the lead, Anastasiades said that there are “no easy elections” and he has not been swayed by his position in the lead.

Regarding criticism from the political opposition that he denied a meeting with the five permanent UN Security Council members, Anastasiades said that he has no reason to reject an International Conference on Cyprus with the participation on the five permanent members of the Security Council.  “Quite the opposite, I am making every effort, with the objective being that through the participation of the five permanent members of the Security Council, there will be such an influence on Ankara, that they will understand that a solution to the Cyprus problem will be to the benefit of the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and to Turkey as well.”

Asked why he didn’t move forward on negotiating a demarcation with Greece on an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the President said that Cyprus has to demarcate its EEZ with three neighbouring countries, Turkey, Syria, and Greece.  He added that Turkey and Syria were “not in a position today, to negotiate the EEZ with the Republic of Cyprus.”  Regarding Greece, he said that the two countries were in close cooperation and working together.

Regarding the ‘haircut’ in 2013 and a statement from the former Eurogroup President, Jeroen Djisselbloem that Cyprus proposed the haircut, Anastasiades said that it was an agreement made between the former government and the troika.  He added that his government had proposed a one-off tax on deposits, which corresponded to bank interest of between 18 and 22 months, but this had been rejected by parliament, he said.  The president said a week later MPs turned around accepted the haircut, which was far worse.

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