By Maria Koniotou
The importance of a settlement of the Cyprus problem for the island as well as the region was highlighted by the international community on the first anniversary of talks between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Asked by the Cyprus News Agency to comment the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and the head of the EU representation on the island expressed support for the ongoing negotiations and urged the leaders to seize the current opportunity for a settlement.
US ambassador Kathleen Doherty, said: “The United States commends the leaders of the two communities; they are visionaries working toward a just and comprehensive settlement.”
“The United States fully supports a solution in the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation. Not only will Cypriots themselves reap the benefits—politically and economically—of a settlement, but the peaceful reunification of Cyprus would also resonate well beyond the island,” the Ambassador said.
She noted that the United States was committed to its relationship with Cyprus and in promoting peace, security, and prosperity in the region and beyond.
“The United States will continue to offer our support in any way we can while maintaining, as we always have, that Cyprus’ collective future will be determined by Cypriots, for Cypriots,” said Doherty.
Russian ambassador, Stanislav Osadchiy, told CNA that Moscow welcomed the resumption of the inter-community dialogue in May 2015, when the leaders managed to revive hope for the reunification.
“Our country has always advocated for a just and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. As a result of the work done by negotiation groups led by Mr Mavroyiannis and Mr Nami, during the past year, sides have made significant progress on many important aspects of the negotiation agenda,” Osadchiy said.
He underlined that in many ways, a “special chemistry” in relations established between Anastasiades and Akinci on a personal level had contributed to the success of the negotiations so far.
Osadchiy said the main goal now was to preserve the accumulated potential, continue to search for compromise and show the will to make difficult but crucial decisions.
“We are convinced that no one knows the Cyprus issue better than the Cypriots themselves. It is important for the parameters of the settlement to be developed by the communities independently without any interference and arbitration,” he added.
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation sees providing favourable external conditions in order for communities to achieve a just and lasting solution as one of the major objectives. In this regard, we expect close cooperation with our partners in the UN Security Council on this issue. We are ready to actively contribute to the peaceful process of the reunification of Cyprus after both sides reach all relevant bilateral agreements,” he concluded.
British High Commissioner, Ric Todd, said the two leaders had created renewed hope and momentum for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue “which the UK government believes will bring clear economic and security benefits for Cyprus, for Cypriots and for the region”.
“The UK government commends the leaders for their courage, commitment and positive leadership,” he said, adding that his government fully supported the current settlement process and stands ready to help in any way it can in order to bring lasting peace to Cyprus.
“Although challenges remain, we encourage all concerned parties to demonstrate flexibility, openness and creativity in overcoming remaining obstacles and in seizing the opportunity that current circumstances present to reach a solution,” Tod said.
Ambassador of France, René Troccaz, also reiterated the firm support of his country. “France, as a long-standing friend of Cyprus, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a founding member of the European Union, expresses its sincere hope that the negotiation process, led by the leaders of the Cypriot communities, will be successfully concluded,” he said.
“The reunification of the island would be very positive for the wellbeing of Cypriots, for their security and their prosperity. It would furthermore represent a very important achievement for the regional stability and serve as an example all around the world.”
France, he added, commended the commitment of the two leaders as well as their vision for a reunified island.
Troccaz expressed confidence that both leaders and their negotiating teams, assisted by the United Nations Good Offices mission, would continue efforts to end the division of the island. “They have spared no effort in this endeavour and deserve the support of the whole international community,” he said.
This is why, he added, France was full of praise for European Union support for the process.
Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus, George Markopouliotis, said the European Commission was committed to support the talks as much as possible, “and we salute the determination and willingness shown by both leaders to find a sustainable solution,” he said.
“As President (of the European Commission Jean-Claude) Juncker said last July, during his visit to Cyprus, concessions and compromises are needed. It is now a moment for hope and the time for a reunited Cyprus,” Markopouliotis added. (CNA)