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Cyprus ready to veto EU summit conclusions over Turkey relations (updated)

eu leaders summit in brussels
File Photo: President Nicos Anastasiades

Cyprus’ positive stance at the upcoming European Council (EUCO) that will discuss EU-Turkey relations will depend on Ankara’s conduct on the Cyprus problem, Famagusta and other issues, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday from Brussels.

The president, who is in Brussels for a Special meeting of the European Council, had a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

According to government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos, Anastasiades stressed to Borrell that the positive attitude of Cyprus at the June meeting will depend on Ankara’s behaviour on the Cyprus issue and Varosha, refraining from provocative actions at sea and on land and whether it will fulfil its contractual obligations to the EU and all its member states.

According to Koushos, Anastasiades stressed to Borell that without a positive attitude from the Turkish side “it would be impossible to offer a positive agenda to Turkey as regards Euro-Turkish relations.”

In an interview with Euronews on Tuesday, the president said that it is “not enough” that Turkey has halted its drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ, emphasising its other hostile actions such as the reopening of Varosha.

“A positive agenda is adopted when there is positive behaviour,” he said, adding that: “When on the contrary, one challenge comes after another, you realise that it would be political suicide if, with my knowledge, I accept a positive agenda that would not include Cyprus.

“I have no choice.”

Asked if he would veto the EU summit conclusions, Anastasiades said: “Definitely, yes.”

Anastasiades called on Borrell to convey to the Turkish side the EU’s position on the need to remain within the agreed solution framework and UN resolutions and call on Ankara to contribute to the creation of favourable conditions for the resumption of talks for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The president also expressed his strong concern “for the unacceptable demands for a two-state solution submitted in writing in Geneva by the Turkish Cypriot leader, with the full support of Turkey, but also for the recent demand of the Turkish side, for recognition of the occupation regime as a condition for the continuation of the negotiation process.”

He also stressed his readiness to respond positively to a new invitation by the UN secretary-general for a new summit on the Cyprus problem so that the two sides enter a “fertile dialogue with prospects for a substantive solution.”

The president reiterated that the solution must be based on the agreed solution framework, that of the bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality as defined in the relevant UN resolutions.

The UNSG’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected back on the island after the parliamentary elections for contacts with the two leaders to see if prospects exist for another informal summit on the Cyprus problem.

A similar summit, with the participation of the two leaders, guarantors Greece, Turkey and the UK in addition to the UN, took place last month in Geneva but no progress was recorded following the insistence by the Turkish side to discuss a two-state solution.

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