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‘There is no plan B’, but Turkey is not the only player

President Nicos Anastasiades

By Stefanos Evripidou

THERE IS no plan B for the Cyprus problem, President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday, noting that the framework for a peace solution already exists and must be agreed upon.

In an interview with the New York Greek language daily Ethnikos Kirikas, he said: “There is no plan B. Turkey has tried for 40 years now to upgrade the construct of the occupied areas, but it has failed.”

He noted that Ankara has always held the key to a solution of the Cyprus problem, adding: “Turkey is not the only player on the chess board, but it is the main player.”

Since Cyprus joined the EU as a whole in 2004 (with EU laws suspended in the occupied areas), Europe, the US and the international community have reaffirmed that a two-state solution is not an option, he said. “It is as simple as that. The solution framework exists, and we simply have to agree upon the content.”

Commenting on the Turkish Cypriot views towards a settlement, the president said there are different trends within the community, noting that it was not politically monolithic.

Anastasiades referred to the package of confidence building measures he has proposed at the UN-led peace talks, saying they presented a win-win scenario, as they would create a new dynamic in the talks, boost trust between the communities and restart Turkey’s EU accession path.

Regarding the issue of whether good or better opportunities were presented to Cypriots in the past to solve the island’s division, the president said this will be judged by historians.

“It serves no purpose to return to the past with a critical eye. The past can only help provide examples for us to shape the future,” he told the paper.

Asked to send a message on the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion, he said: “We have to avert, at any cost, the completion of this tragedy. The future of the country and of our children will be brighter and more hopeful if we manage to overcome the obstacles and abolish the dividing lines through a Federal Republic of Cyprus where the European acquis communautaire will apply throughout the country.”

“My primary concern is that we must not allow this division of Cyprus to become permanent,” he said.

Anastasiades noted that in the spring, the country marked 50 years since the UN sent a peacekeeping force to Cyprus. And a few weeks ago, marked 40 years since the invasion.

“I believe there is not a single Cypriot on this island who does not want to see the Cyprus problem comprehensively settled, and the right to dignity and a life without fear and uncertainty. We political leaders owe it to our country. We cannot disappoint our country, compatriots and history again,” he said.

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