By Constantinos Psillides
IT IS incomprehensible that Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) should be threatened while peace talks are on-going, President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday, assuring that the government will take all necessary steps to counter such actions.
Referring to the Turkish vessel Barbaros, which has embarked on exploratory research off the northern coast of Cyprus, Anastasiades told the 25th conference of the Central Councils of the International Conference of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK – PSEKA) that the government is determined to protect the island’s EEZ.
Barbaros is scheduled to carry out surveys until October 2 in the area close to the occupied Karpass peninsula.
The president pointed out that everyone who considers Cyprus a strategic partner, even the United States of America, have to realise that protecting the EEZ cannot be achieved just with words but with actions.
Anastasiades told the audience that he hopes that president-elect Recep Tayip Erdogan’s visit to the north will show signs of a shift in policy when it comes to the Cyprus problem, and asked that the newly elected Turkish leader prove his stated goodwill so that a solution can be reached as soon as possible.
Anastasiades praised the work done by the overseas, asking them to ignore those who criticise them. “Those who know, are fully aware that through your actions you have contributed to the survival of the Greek Cypriots. Ignore what bitter, petty things that fortunately few people are saying.”
Continuing on foreign policy, the president stated that he was satisfied with strengthening ties with Israel and gave assurances that any refocusing in foreign relations will not hurt Cyprus’ ties with other countries, such as Russia, China or the Arabic nations.
“What we are after is utilising any means at our disposal to deal with our national problem,” Anastasiades said.
The president talked at length about the island’s financial situation, explaining that none of the decisions made by him thus far had been easy.
“Those decisions were tough, but absolutely necessary and undoubtedly useful. I know that they weren’t popular, that at least they were beneficial, as it turns out, since positive evaluations on our economy have started pouring in. We managed to return to international markets in less than 14 months, after exiting three years earlier,” Anastasiades said, pointing out that this feat couldn’t be done if the people of Cyprus hadn’t made sacrifices and shown patience and resilience.
“The people accepted these sacrifices, hoping that political parties would show consistency and lead them away from the memorandum as soon as possible. And like it or not, adhering to the memorandum and everything we have already agreed on is the only way of getting rid of it.”
The president criticised the opposition parties, saying that while their rhetoric might appeal to their base, abandoning the current course would have dire effects on the economy.
“And nobody, nobody has the right to drive Greek Cypriots into similar adventures, ever again,” Anastasiades declared, referring to the hotly debated foreclosures bill that is opposed by almost all parliamentary parties and is scheduled to be put to a plenum vote by the House of Representatives on Friday. The bill is a term set by the troika in order for Cyprus to receive the next tranche of bail-out money on September.