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‘Status quo cannot be the future of Cyprus’ (updated)

ΠτΔ – Μνημόσυνο Δημήτρη Χάματσου. /
Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides

The status quo in Cyprus cannot be the island’s future, President Nikos Christodoulides reiterated on Sunday.

The island is at a critical juncture in its history, he said.

“With tireless efforts, contacts and pressure, the Cyprus republic has opened again the prospect of starting negotiations on the Cyprus problem,” he said, addressing the memorial service for national hero Demetris Hamatsos of Dali.

“We have an obligation to show courage and perseverance to end the current unacceptable state of affairs, to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify our country, on the basis of UN resolutions and the European acquis,” he added.

“We will do our utmost so that this place becomes a place of peace, freedom, unity and respect for human rights for all its lawful citizens.”

He said the appointment of Maria Angela Holguin at the UNSG’s envoy to the island was a reason for optimism, without ignoring the difficulties and challenges that she faces.

Holguin is scheduled to return to Cyprus in March following her visit to London, Greece and Turkey.

This comes after the completion of her first round of contacts on the Cyprus problem on the island earlier this month.

During her first round of contacts, Holguin met Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

“The objective was to make the first contact with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders and listen to civil society actors, former negotiators, representatives of the international community, young people, academics, and other experts,” she said.

Speaking after the service, he said that the island will continue its efforts to achieve the goal of the resumption of talks on the Cyprus problem leading to a solution.

He said he welcomed the statement by the UN Secretary General’s envoy on trust building.

Speaking a few days earlier Holguin had said “it is crucial to build trust, which has been seriously lacking, as a basic condition to build a future”.

“Trust building between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey is necessary,” Christodoulides said.

“I welcome the fact that she issued this particular statement to everyone,” he added.

Christodoulides underlined that it is important the whole effort originates from the terms of reference of the Secretary-General, a bizonal bicommunal federation.

“Despite the difficulties, despite the challenges, there is no choice but to do everything possible to resume the talks, to build on the acquis to date and to achieve the objective, which is none other than the resolution of the Cyprus problem,” he concluded.

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