If both sides engage constructively and with respect for each side’s sensitivities they could reach a settlement as soon as possible, even within 2016, despite this being an ambitious goal, President Nicos Anastasiades has said.
“We could resolve our outstanding differences with our guiding doctrine being the need to be well-prepared, and present to the people a clear plan, with no constructive ambiguities and no deficiencies that will jeopardise its implementation,” he said in New York.
In an intervention at the 2016 Concordia Summit, in partnership with the Atlantic Council, in New York, the president pointed out that a solution to the Cyprus problem could become a paradigm of how the adoption of a reconciliatory stance could contribute to the resolution of difficult international issues.
“We are cautiously optimistic that conditions may soon prevail that will enable us to reach a comprehensive settlement,” he said. “My aim remains simple and clear: To end the unacceptable status quo and reach a functional and comprehensive settlement, one that will enhance even further Cyprus’s regional role, and which will contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region.”
He spoke about the intensive phase of negotiations just completed with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci that ended on September 14.
“Despite the important progress achieved on the Chapters of governance, European Union, economy, property there are still a considerable number of issues on which there are divergences,” said Anastasiades.
He said he wanted to assure that he was determined to continue “working tirelessly and with the same intensified pace” in order to reach a settlement as soon as possible, even within 2016 “despite the fact that this is an ambitious goal”.
This, he said, was based on his conviction that if both sides engaged constructively and with respect to each side’s sensitivities, “then we could resolve our outstanding differences with our guiding doctrine being the need to be well-prepared, and present to the people a clear plan, with no constructive ambiguities and no deficiencies that will jeopardise its implementation”.
In this respect, he added, Turkey’s contribution in concrete terms was vital. Cyprus was also counting on its partners and friends, such as the United States, to relay to Ankara the value of a constructive approach, particularly on the critical issues that will determine the final outcome of the intensive phase.
In parallel with the ongoing negotiations, Anastasiades said his government was also concentrating its efforts for ambitious reforms to lay the foundations for long-term sustainable growth and improve the business environment and further attract foreign investments.
“This is all the more applicable since Cyprus’ economy is now emerging out of its most challenging period to date. We have managed to successfully complete the implementation of the macroeconomic adjustment programme that was agreed with EU Institutions and IMF in March 2013”, he said.
Efforts for economic reform and fiscal consolidation had resulted in the stabilisation of the financial system, and a restructured and fully recapitalised banking sector.
“It is important to note that the gas reserves discovered within our exclusive economic zone but also in our neighbourhood, worth billions of euro, are destined to transform Cyprus into an important international energy hub,” he added.
“Cyprus has what it takes to become an important gas supplier and energy hub not only for the neighbourhood but also contributing to the European Union’s energy security, and this is why we are following a regional, integrative approach in our foreign policy orientation”.
He said a solution to the Cyprus issue could become a paradigm of how the adoption of a reconciliatory stance could contribute to the resolution of difficult international issues, prevail over mistrust and serve as an example of peaceful coexistence between different communities, and this would to the best interest for Europe and its future.