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Cyprus Talks

Leaders focus on economic benefits of a solution (Updated)

A reunification of the country could see Cyprus established as one of the European Union’s most stable economies in the region, and with access to the Turkish market, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday.
The president was a key speaker, along with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, at an event organised by the Cyprus Academic Dialogue (CAD), entitled “Life in a federal Cyprus”, which took place at a restaurant in the Nicosia buffer zone.
Speaking at the event, President Anastasiades expressed his hope that the current negotiating process would lead to a solution soon and that the aim was to reach a settlement within 2016.
“I believe that both Mustafa and I not only possess the political courage, resolve and genuine desire to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, but I do believe that we also share the same approach and vision as regards presenting to the people a viable, lasting and functional settlement,” he said.
Their shared position was that the settlement presented to the people must be clear and comprehensive.
He added that “the range of benefits the lives of the people of Cyprus in a reunited federal Cyprus”, would be the unrestricted freedom of movement, the right to acquire property and establish themselves anywhere in Cyprus, as well as work or engage in economic activity throughout the island.
“By reuniting our country, its people, institutions and the economy and ending the uncertainty related with the status quo, Cyprus has the potential to establish itself as one of the EU’s most stable and predictable economies in our volatile region, ensuring long-term prosperity,” Anastasiades said.
This would mean the “significant improvement of the investment climate and an increased attraction of big foreign investments; reaching out to currently unexploited markets across the world, including, of course, the Turkish one,” the president said.
In addition, it would also lead to stimulating various economic sectors such as the construction and real estate industry, or enhancing the potential of other ones, like tourism, shipping, retail and trade sectors.
He said that the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in Eastern Mediterranean had the potential to create even further synergies and alliances for broader cooperation between other countries.
“Through removing all the political barriers that prevent the full exploitation of our unique geographical position, we will be able to utilise our full potential to transforming Cyprus into a model-country of reliability, stability and security and a shining example of the ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic cooperation between Christian and Muslim communities,” Anastasiades said.
In his speech, Akinci said that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots should view one another, not as enemies, but as future partners.
After analysing the economic benefits of the solution, he said that the solution should be on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, political equality and according to the Joint Declaration of February 2014.
He also said he was in favour of natural gas and electricity transportation via Turkey. The natural gas issue is very important, Akinci said, and Turkey is the most economic and reasonable solution for the transfer to the EU of existing and future energy resources by Cyprus, in combination with natural resources of other countries in the region, especially Israel.
Now is the time, he said, to implement a partnership that will bring many benefits and opportunities.
Referring to the multiple benefits of a solution, Akinci said it would mean the removal of political and economic uncertainty, while investments will increase, especially in construction and tourism. In addition, he said, water from Turkey would open the way to great potential for the agricultural sector, while there will be no compulsory military service.
A reunited Cyprus would also be in position to absorb many European funds for infrastructure, he said, while imports and exports would increase as markets would be opened up to Turkish Cypriots. Greek Cypriots, he said, would have access to Turkey with its population of 78 million.

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