Greek Cypriot president says ‘ready to try talks again’
Despite the latest setback in reunification talks, Nicosia stands ready to try again at the negotiating table in order to resolve the decades-long intractable problem, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told world leaders on Sept. 21.
“I yet again urge Turkey and our Turkish Cypriot compatriots to realize that it is only through mutual respect and compromises and not obsolete fixations to failed practices that we will achieve a viable and lasting settlement,” Anastasiades said in his address at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“A settlement which should leave neither winners nor losers and fully respect and address the sensitivities and concerns of both communities. This is the only way for Cyprus to fully utilize its potential and exploit its unique geographical position. This is my vision,” he added.
Despite the disappointment from the deadlocked talks in Switzerland earlier this year, the president said that during his meeting with the U.N. Secretary-General on Sept. 22, he would “convey our readiness to immediately resume negotiations, in accordance with his framework and always in line with the relevant U.N. Resolutions.”
Although, he immediately added, a potential new Conference on Cyprus should be preceded by “thorough and solid preparation” so as to avoid another failure.
Despite not wishing to engage in a blame game, Anastasiades said, he attributed the failed talks in Switzerland “exclusively to the intransigent stance of Turkey which, instead of being positively predisposed to establishing a truly independent, sovereign and normal state, through its proposals aimed at reducing Cyprus to a Turkish protectorate.”
This was in stark contrast to the “constructive stance” adopted by the Cyprus government at Crans Montana, he added.
The U.N. chief had presented an outline of “six fundamental thematic topics” which consisted on the one hand of the chapter on Security and Guarantees, including the withdrawal of foreign troops, and on the other hand the issues related with the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem.
“Acting in full conformity with the outline of the U.N. Secretary-General, I submitted credible and realistic proposals which effectively addressed the sensitivities and concerns of both communities,” Anastasiades said.
Responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks before the General Assembly, where Erdoğan described the Greek Cypriot positions in Switzerland as “incomprehensible,” Anastasiades asked a series of questions.
“Is it incomprehensible to aspire to establish an independent and sovereign state, without any foreign guarantees, any right of intervention by a third country and free from the presence of occupation troops? Is it irrational to advocate establishing a normal state in which all decisions will be taken only by its citizens, free from foreign dependencies?” he said.
Looking ahead, and despite the frustration with the latest round of talks, Anastasiades stressed that the people of Cyprus wish to end the “unacceptable status quo.”
“A state free from any foreign interventions and dependencies; ‘a normal state,’ as the U.N. Secretary-General very correctly stated. A state led by Cypriots, for Cypriots,” Anastasiades said.
In the interim, Anastasiades called on the Turkish side to engage with confidence-building measures.