Athens.- By Christos Michaelides/CNA
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has said that if Turkey proceeds to same actions as it did last October by sending a seismic vessel which violated the Republic`s sovereignty in its Exclusive Economic Zone, then it would not be possible to continue the Cyprus talks, which are expected to begin this spring.
The President, who held a meeting today in Athens with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, said that it is for the benefit of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem `the soonest possible`.
“We want a solution of a lasting peace, which would terminate once and for all the unacceptable current situation” Anastasiades added.
The two leaders stressed that the Cyprus talks must aim at a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem, as soon as possible.
Asked whether Nicosia has received or asked for any guarantees that there will be no more “unfortunate surprises” from Ankara, or whether the USA, the United Nations or other important stakeholders have reassured him that the situation has changed, Anastasiades said that many reassurances had been given in the past, and that what really is important now is “the efforts we put into achieving stability and a total reverse of the previous conditions, so that we can go ahead with substantial talks”.
Despite the reassurances, he went on to say, if Turkey proceeds to the same actions as last October, then `it would not be possible to further continue the dialogue`.
Both said that there are now prospects for the resumption of the Cyprus talks. The Greek Prime Minister described as positive news the fact that Turkey did not renew its illegal Navtex in Cyprus` EEZ and that the Turkish vessel `Barbaros` has withdrawn from the area.
Meanwhile, asked by CNA on a possible date for the resumption of the negotiations, Cypriot government spokesman, Nikos Christodoulides said that this has not been decided yet.
The talks between Anastasiades and Tsipras lasted for about an hour. Both leaders agreed that a second tri-party meeting between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt on energy issues will be held in Nicosia, and that this initiative should not be interpreted as an act of excluding other important countries in the region.
“I will be thrilled”, the Greek Prime Minister said, ” if soon we can sit at the same table, with Egypt, Israel and Turkey”.
President Anastasiades talked about Cyprus` “warm ties” with Israel, and added that soon he will visit Prime Minister Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.
“We have our differences”, he stressed, “especially on the Palestinian matter, but we also have a lot of things that bring us together”.
President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed today that the normalisation of Athens` relations with Ankara also depend on the Cyprus issue.
Pavlopoulos, who held a meeting Friday in Athens with President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, said that Greece supports Cyprus` efforts for a functional and viable solution in Cyprus and noted that Turkey must refrain from provocative actions which violate Cyprus` sovereign rights.
The solution in Cyprus, he added, must be based on international and European laws and values.
He also said that the Cyprus issue is a European problem and should be of concern to the EU.
The solution, he added, will contribute to the stability in the Middle East and the wider region.
In his statements, President Anastasiades noted that it seems that the reasons which led the Greek Cypriot side to suspend its participation in the Cyprus talks no longer exist since the Turkish seismic vessel has withdrawn while Ankara has not renewed its illegal NAVTEX.
These developments, he said, bring us back to the situation before Turkey violated Cyprus` EEZ and allow us to create those circumstances for a substantive dialogue.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has suspended his participation in the peace talks to reunite the island divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, following a Navigational Telex or NAVTEX, issued by Turkey in October last year, as Turkish seismic research vessel “Barbaros” violated the Republic’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
He expressed the hope that Turkey will actively support the efforts for a solution and added that the continuation of the status quo does not create prospects for a better future for the Turkish Cypriot community.
President Anastasiades said that there must be respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms, international and European law, in order to achieve a lasting and viable solution.
In this respect, he expressed the gratitude of Cyprus towards Greece for its long-lasting support.