Geostrategic cooperation can serve as a perfect incentive for the resolution of the Cyprus problem, 43 years after the Turkish military invasion and the continuing occupation of 37 per cent of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday.
In his keynote address at the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Global Forum in Washington, Anastasiades expressed hope that Turkey, a country that aspires to be recognized as a regional leader, will rise to the occasion and contribute tangibly to the Cyprus peace process.
“I truly believe that our vision for a reunited Cyprus can be fulfilled, if all stakeholders demonstrate the same degree of commitment,” the president pointed out.
He was one of the speakers at the section called “World Leaders’ Assembly,” where Romanian President Klaus Werner Johannes, Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs of Israel Gildan Erdan and the Foreign Ministers of Japan and Singapore had also spoken.
Anastasiades devoted most of his speech to his vision for cooperation, peace and security in the region, close cooperation between Cyprus and Israel, as well as the trilateral partnerships that promote Cyprus and Greece with neighboring countries.
He referred to the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in the region and strongly condemned anti-Semitism and attempts to boycott Israel, highlighting the great role that Cyprus could play for Israel and the Middle East as a member of the EU.
He spoke about the close ties between Cyprus and Israel in all areas, particularly energy, and the prospects it creates for growth, prosperity, peace and stability in the region.
“We consider that the involvement of American and other energy giants is indicative of the immense potential of our region in the field of energy. It also adds an important parameter to our bilateral relations with the United States. We have in fact actively encouraged cooperation with American companies; Noble Energy has made the first discovery of natural gas in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone and Exxon Mobil (with Qatar Petroleum) now have an exploration license and a production sharing contract,” he said.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, the president said that a viable solution to the Cyprus problem would reinforce the island’s bridging capacity and serve as an example of bringing about peace and stability in the region.
“This would certainly serve the interests of our key neighbouring partners such as Israel, as well as Jordan and Egypt. It is for this reason that efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement that will reunify Cyprus and its people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, has been at the top of my agenda.”
Anastasiades also stressed that a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem would obviously be in the interests of the United States and Israel, adding that for the good of regional stability, Cyprus needs to remain an independent state and continue to function as a reliable partner in the region, fostering peace, prosperity and a sense of security among all Cypriots.
“The United States, recognizing the benefits for Cyprus but also for the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, and indeed the West, has been an active supporter of our efforts to achieve a reunified, viable state, through a solution that will amplify Cyprus’s role as a strategic partner,” he said.
Referring to Sunday’s dinner with Antonio Guterres and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, he said that he has accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-General to help overcome the challenges in the reunification negotiations and take the process forward.
“It is of utmost importance to remain committed to the continuation of this dialogue, and work with determination to reunify the island and to serve the true interests of the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots”, he said, adding that he hopes Turkey, a country that aspires to be recognized as a regional leader, will rise to the occasion.
“We expect Turkey to deliver on its verbal commitments, and to contribute tangibly to the process – this is key to have a successful outcome, especially on the vital chapters of security and guarantees. I truly believe that our vision for a reunited Cyprus can be fulfilled, if all stakeholders demonstrate the same degree of commitment”, he said.
He assured that the Greek Cypriot side is determined to rise to the challenge of its historic responsibility and to do its utmost with the aim of providing a more stable, prosperous and reconciliatory future in the region.