President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday again called for unity in respect of the Cyprus negotiations saying he hears a lot about how the Greek Cypriot side needs to formulate a new strategy for a solution.
“What I observe, I am sorry to say, is that I never hear what this new strategy should be,” he said.
“I’m ready to hear new proposals.. but I am not ready to downgrade the joint strategy already set by the National Council. I think something like that would lead to the consolidation of the fait accompli and play into Turkey’s objectives.”
Anastasiades was speaking at a memorial service and unveiling of a monument at the Ayios Pavlos church in Nicosia for a group of National Guardsmen killed during the 1974 Turkish invasion, whom he said had held their positions in spite of the odds being stacked against them, and “managed to prevent what seemed inevitable… the fall of Nicosia”.
“I read and hear daily concerns and I would like to tell you frankly that I am also concerned. But I will not allow fear to outweigh my desire to see our country reunified,” said Anastasiades. “What we need is determination, unity and joint action. It is not enough for us to put forward concerns and to suggest slogans. The slogans proclaim the target, but do not help in achieving it.”
The President said there was a window of opportunity that should be seized.
“I am not saying that there will never be another chance for a solution. But I am sure that the next opportunity will be under completely different conditions, and definitely unfavourable for us as time leaves its mark on the Cyprus settlement process and this is sadly undeniable,” he said.
“Now is the time to decide whether we will go forward, if we will change the history of our country, or we will remain stuck in the past,” he added.
He said he was determined to see a reunified country, a federal state, built as truly European state guaranteeing the rights of all citizens.
At the same time, he said he wanted to make it clear and to send a message to Cyprus’ European partners that the will of the Greek Cypriot side and the will of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were not enough on their own, and that a sign was needed from Turkey, which would also benefit from a Cyprus solution.
Anastasiades is due to meet Akinci on Monday prior to his departure for New York later in the week to attend the UN General Assembly. He is due to stop over in London where he will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron.