Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

‘We won’t be pushed into talks’

UN special adviser Alexander Downer

By Stefanos Evripidou

PRESIDENT NICOS Anastasiades yesterday warned Europe not to push the Greek Cypriots to enter into a new round of peace talks while the basic principles underlying a solution were being challenged.

Asked to comment on his recent trip to Brussels, he said: “Everybody understands that what is needed is a real impetus to the new round of talks. I believe and hope that they will not pursue in any way the resumption of talks – which will not happen in any case- just for the sake of talks and to record a supposedly temporary success that the talks have resumed.”

He said the government was determined to enter into a dialogue to end the occupation as soon as possible.

“But when the basic principles that will form a solution are challenged, it is inconceivable to think that talks on the Cyprus problem under these conditions could bear fruit,” said Anastasiades.

Speaking on Sunday at an event, Anastasiades put his point across more firmly “to those who think they can blackmail or even pressure us”.

“We may be experiencing a major economic crisis, but I want to make it clear once and for all to everyone: we will not bend under any economic conditions.”

He added: “The message I want to convey to certain international players is that we will not succumb to pressure to engage in dialogue for the sake of dialogue.”

In a message to the international community, the president argued that nobody wanted to reunify the country and free it from occupation more than the Greek Cypriots, but “at the same time they must understand and pass on to Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots that some bold steps should finally be taken to restore trust. They must happen immediately.”

Steps could be taken with regard to confidence-building measures, or efforts to agree on a joint statement, which would not put in doubt the single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality of a reunited Cyprus.

“Without these prospects and conditions, unfortunately, we cannot enter into a dialogue of the deaf. And that is also the responsibility of the United Nations. It cannot ignore the resolutions of the UN General Assembly or Security Council,” he said.

Asked to comment on rumours doing the rounds yesterday that UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer had sent a letter to the European Commission suggesting that enhancing the role of the EU in the peace talks- a Greek Cypriot demand- would not help the peace process, Anastasiades said: “No comment.”

Politicians attending the October 28 parade were asked to comment on the uncorroborated rumour.

House President and EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou said yesterday Downer’s presence not only does not help create the conditions for constructive negotiations, but in reality, encourages Turkish intransigence.

DISY MP Nicos Tornaritis said if the reports about Downer are true, then “obviously he automatically undermines his own presence in Cyprus”.

EVROKO deputy leader Michalis Georgallas called for Downer’s removal before talks resume, saying that his presence guarantees failure of the talks.

Diplomatic sources yesterday denied the existence of any such letter sent by Downer to the Commission, adding that, in fact, contrary to the allegation, Downer is in favour of European engagement in the process.


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