President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are meeting on Thursday under a cloud caused by a vote in parliament last week to commemorate a 1950 referendum on Enosis – union with Greece.
The furore saw UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide on Wednesday concede that the current climate was not optimal for the talks and he hoped the leaders could clear the air during their scheduled meeting.
Late Wednesday at a ceremony in Limassol, Anastasiades said it was inconceivable for anyone to question the Greek Cypriot side`s will to reach a solution for a bizonal, bicommunal federation after some 37 years of dialogue.
He was addressing a ceremony for the Youth Awards 2016 in Limassol and referred to the latest developments regarding the negotiations. Akinci cancelled a meeting of the negotiators after the majority of the House last Friday adopted an amendment to secondary school regulations to include in the commemoration.
“Unfortunately, despite having the ability of turning our country into a place of prosperity, peace and stability we have found ourselves before a possibility of handing over a country that is not only partitioned but is also socially divided,” Anastasiades said.
“I am here today to assure you that I will use everything within my power in the effort to reunify our country and to restore the pride and dignity our people are worthy of,” he said.
“Having said the above, I believe that I am expressing, not just my own vision, but also the vision of the political leadership and Cypriot society as a whole”, he added.
At the same time, the president assured everyone that he and his team were aware of all the difficulties ahead and were under no illusion that by using rhetoric, Turkey could be persuaded to change its negative stance.
“What I would like to note and to ask everyone for is for seriousness to prevail,” he said, adding that “there are those who seek pretexts to avoid assuming their responsibilities.”
There is no need through our own actions to contribute or to give ground to an argument which is unfounded, Anastasiades said.
“It is inconceivable that after some 37 years of dialogue aiming to achieve our country`s reunification, to rid it from occupying troops on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation that the Greek Cypriot side`s will can be questioned because allegedly and of course in an untimely manner, I wish to be clear, a matter of a ten-minute reference to a historical fact has been brought up.
“No-one has proposed that with this amendment we are changing our policy and that we are turning in the direction of an unattainable solution which no one seeks, no one puts forward, and no one calls for,” he added.
Replying to a question earlier as to what he would do if Akinci brings up the matter during their meeting on Thursday, Anastasiades said he has a way to react and he referred to his recent written statement in which he stressed that he would not allow anyone to question the sincere intentions of the Greek Cypriot side for a solution.