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President underlines desire for talks to restart

With six letters sent to and four meetings with United Nations Secretary general Antonio Guterres in the last two years, President Nicos Anastasiades says he is seeking the resumption of Cyprus talks from the point they left off in 2017 in Crans Montana.

In an interview with daily Phileleftheros, Anastasiades said dialogue is the only way to solve problems but he warned both the Turkish Cypriot side and international players that in seeking to solve the worries of Turkish Cypriots they cannot leave those of the Greek Cypriots hanging.

He said the latest letter sent to Guterres this week underlined the points he has made in the past, and that he is willing to restart negotiations from the point they left off. “I believe that is the only way to get past any problems,” he said.

The latest letter contained the recommendations made by the president to create the conditions for resuming the dialogue, as well as suggestions to overcome deadlocks. “At the same time, I repeat the prerequisite for the resumption of dialogue is the removal of Turkish irregularities in Cyprus’ EEZ”.

He said that Cyprus is not taking Turkish threats lying down. “In addition to the legal measures taken by individuals, we have actively engaged the EU for the first time with the decisions taken at the last European Council to impose measures”.

He also referred to the decentralisation of powers and the creation of political equality “not as defined by the Turkish Cypriot side, but as it should be interpreted”.

He added “it is essential for every process of dialogue to respect each other. In this case, it is important for Turkey to realise it is not through actions that cause tensions and exacerbate the concerns of the Greek Cypriots that a solution will be found”.

Anastasiades said the rights of Turkish Cypriots have never been denied, while convergence has been reached that hydrocarbon issues belong to the central government, in addition to the distribution of income from the disposal of natural wealth.

“A fund has been created into which any future income from the exploitation of the natural wealth will be deposited and a very large amount is strictly reserved, which is far beyond what is attributable to the Turkish Cypriot community. Therefore, Turkey’s reactions are not justified,” he said.

Turkish drilling in the island’s EEZ shows the biggest contradiction in its policies, Anastasiades said. “You cannot claim that islands do not have an EEZ, you do not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and therefore its EEZ and recognise that the illegal regime has an EEZ. There is a huge contradiction that demonstrates Turkey’s intentions”.

He said a solution to the Cyprus problem and agreement on what happens in the EEZ could help restore a relationship with Turkey, which could even buy the island’s hydrocarbons.

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