By Stefanos Evripidou
PRESIDENT NICOS Anastasiades discussed the new round of Cyprus peace talks and regional energy collaboration with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens yesterday.
During his one-day visit to the Greek capital, the president and Greek premier assessed the results of their recent meetings in the US as well as Samaras’ trip to Israel.
In statements to the press after the meeting, Anastasiades expressed his determination to work “methodically and systematically” to ensure that the new round of negotiations will lead to a solution where the present state will evolve into a federal state in line with the framework governing Cyprus’ relations with the EU as an EU member.
He said the aim is to both safeguard the human rights of all Cypriots and also to have a functional and viable state that will be able to operate within the EU.
“What we agreed is that the timing of the start of negotiations does not matter but that they are well prepared so we do not repeat a method which did not appear to yield results in the past,” said Anastasiades.
The Cypriot leader repeated his call for a new impetus to the talks, and referred to his Varosha package proposal which would see the fenced off town returned to its lawful inhabitants in exchange for a number of other measures.
Anastasiades said the aim is for the two sides to agree on a joint statement the soonest, before the resumption of the talks, which will set out the basis of a solution and what the two sides are aim for.
For his part, Samaras said a Cyprus would have to be in line with UN resolutions and EU values and principles, and put to a referendum.
Referring to his visit to the US and Israel, the Greek premier said he discussed with his interlocutors the new upgraded role that Greece and Cyprus can play in the region in view of recent developments in the region and following the discovery of natural gas reserves.
According to state broadcaster CyBC, the two discussed plans for enhanced cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The three countries have reportedly agreed to appoint representatives to prepare proposals on how to transport Israeli and Cypriot gas to Europe.
The broadcaster said there are currently four scenarios: two involving the creation of a liquefied natural gas plant, and two concerning pipelines to Europe either through Greece or Turkey.