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EUROPE > Greek Cyprus vows to be neutral at EU post

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Christofias says his country will be neutral when it assumes the EU presidency. REUTERS Photo

Christofias says his country will be neutral when it assumes the EU presidency. REUTERS Photo

Greek Cyprus will not use its upcoming status as EU term president for the promotion of national interests, President Demetris Christofias has said, adding that his country is ready to continue dialogue for peace talks when it takes over the bloc July 1.

“We will not use our position as president of the council for the promotion of national positions,” Christofias told the latest edition of Turkish Policy Quarterly. “We are absolutely ready to continue the dialogue for a solution of the Cyprus problem” during Cyprus’s EU presidency, he said. “We will implement the decisions of the EU in relation to the candidate countries, including Turkey, with objectivity and neutrality. … We hope that Ankara will respond in good faith.” Responding to a question about whether revenue from a potential gas discovery would be shared with Turkish side, Christofias recalled his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last year.

“We are absolutely ready to continue the dialogue for a solution of the Cyprus problem” during Cyprus’s EU presidency, he said. “We will implement the decisions of the EU in relation to the candidate countries, including Turkey, with objectivity and neutrality. … We hope that Ankara will respond in good faith.”

Share of energy


Responding to a question about whether revenue from a potential natural gas discovery would be shared with Turkish Cypriots, Christofias recalled his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last year in which he said Turkish Cypriots would also benefit from the fruits of discovery and exploitation of hydrocarbons. “Turkey can also benefit from the exploitation of the deposits. However, the Cyprus problem must first be solved,” he added.

Asked about the reason for the failure of negotiations during Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat’s leadership did not succeed, Christofias said, “There were several problems and disagreements that prevented us from making as much progress as we had been expecting.”

However, he said they had agreed to reach “a solution that would be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality for a state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality” during Talat’s term.

Christofias said negotiations were more difficult under Talat’s replacement, Derviş Eroğlu. “[Eroğlu] has continually reneged on agreements reached with Mr. Talat and breached commitments that had been undertaken. We call upon [Eroğlu] to prove with actions, not words, that he is working toward the reunification.”

‘Stop promoting Plan B’


Christofias also called on Ankara to stop promoting potential “Plan B” scenarios for Cyprus, including seeking international recognition for the northern side of the island. Christofias said Turkish Cypriots were also EU citizens “on account of their Cypriot citizenship.”

“We reiterate our 2010 proposal for the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants… In parallel, our proposal includes the opening and use of the city’s port by the Turkish Cypriots under the supervision of the EU,” he said. “Turkey can also gain by implementing this proposal, as what we are proposing includes the prospect of unblocking chapters in its accession negotiations with the EU.”

June/04/2012

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