Those who seek to create tension and a negative climate do not reflect the desire of the overwhelming majority of Greek and Turkish Cypriots to reunite the island, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday.
The president was commenting on the recent arson attack at a mosque in Limassol, which was cited by the Turkish foreign ministry as “further proof” of need for two-state solution.
In his statements, he also revealed that the UN security council is considering candidates to appoint as a special envoy for Cyprus in his statements about the coming visit of the UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca.
Responding to a journalist’s question who suggested that some are trying to create a difficult climate between the two communities, Christodoulides urged caution.
“They are trying to create a negative climate, so we need to be particularly careful. What happened yesterday in Limassol is condemnable; it does not fit in any logical context, and of course, it does not correspond to the feelings of Greek Cypriots towards Turkish Cypriots.”
He added that there is no information so far about the motives of the perpetrators but noted “I have given instructions for an immediate investigation into it.”
“Those who aim to create an atmosphere of polarization, an atmosphere of tension, certainly do not reflect the desire of the overwhelming majority of the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, who wish for the reunification of our land based on the agreed framework. And we will continue to do whatever is possible in this direction.”
But the Turkish foreign ministry on Sunday, said the arson attack at the Köprülü Hacı İbrahim Agha Mosque is the latest example of growing anti-Islamism across Europe. It not only targets Muslims, the ministry added, but reveals once again how serious the threat to our common human values has become.
“The hatred and intolerance revealed by the aforementioned attack show how far some people of the Greek Cypriot community are from understanding how they can live together with Muslim Turkish Cypriots with peace, tranquility and tolerance.
“It is further proof that the two-state vision of the Turkish Cypriot side is the only realistic model for a solution to the Cyprus problem,” the Turkish ministry added.
The arsonist was caught on CCTV cameras approached the Jedit Mosque located in the old Limassol port on foot around 1.15am. They threw bottles containing firecrackers and liquid flammable material, twice in quick succession at the temple, damaging the entrance and walls.
In other statements to reporters in Chandria, the president was asked about the visit of the UN Assistant Secretary-General to Cyprus and the meeting they will have tomorrow at the Presidential Palace. Christodoulides highlighted that “it is important that he is in Cyprus and these meetings will take place.”
He said Jenca is coming on behalf of the UN Secretary-General in light of the UN General Assembly, so as to specifically explore the prospects for restarting the negotiations.
“I consider his presence important; it is also an indication of the importance he himself attaches. Of course, what matters most is results. Our readiness, our will, is given; it is recognised by the international community,” Christodoulides said.
He stressed that an important first step would be the appointment by the UN Secretary-General of a special envoy for Cyprus, to explore the prospects for restarting the negotiations. “After all, this is also the call of the UN Security Council,” he said.
Permanent Members of the Security Council have already started discussing possible candidates who can take on this important role, Christodoulides said.
Among the issues to be discussed with the UN official is the recent attack against UN peacekeepers at the buffer zone.
“Our reaction, the way we approached the issue, I believe, taking into account the condemnation by the international community, is an indication of the recognition of our constructive position and our real will, so that there will be developments towards the resolution of the Cyprus Issue,” the president noted.
The two will also talk about the “unacceptable Turkish actions that essentially aimed at expanding the occupation,” the president added.