United Nations.- by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has expressed his readiness to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible.
“I am absolutely ready for a solution the soonest possible”, President Christofias stressed Friday, speaking at a press conference to UN correspondents in New York.
President Christofias said that the Greek Cypriot side is the one that seeks a solution the soonest possible, in order to put an end to the Turkish occupation of 37% of Cyprus’ territory and thus reunify the island.
“When Turkish leaders state that they wish a solution by the end of the year, I say that I wish a solution yesterday”, he pointed out.
President Christofias described the parameters of the solution by saying that it should be based on the UN Security Council’s resolutions, the High Level agreements and the European principles.
Referring to the negotiations with former leader of the Turkish Cypriots Mehmet Ali Talat, he said that they reached convergences on the chapters of governance, economy and European Union and that they agreed for the establishment of a federal state with a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality.
“We need a just and viable solution, and for that solution I work intensively the last two years”, he stressed underlining that in order to accomplish that solution the Turkish leadership must decide that it sincerely wants a solution.
He said with Talat they reached convergences, but the differences remain and that with good will the two sides can reach convergences on the property issue that is now under discussion with current Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
Referring to the property chapter, he reiterated the position of the Greek Cypriot side that Greek Cypriot refugees, who wish to exercise their right to return to their properties in the Turkish occupied areas, can do that, while those who do not wish to return they will receive compensation or they will exchange their properties.
Christofias said that the Turkish Cypriot side insists the issue of property to be solved only by the compensation of the owner of the property. He also reiterated his proposal for linking the issue of property with the issues of territory and settlers, and expressed his regret for the fact that the other side has rejected this proposal.
Referring to the Kosovo issue in connection to the Cyprus problem, he said that they are two different issues, stressing that the Cyprus problem is an issue of occupation of an independent country by another country and violation of human rights.
The President reiterated his invitation towards the Turkish leadership to meet with him, saying that a solution in Cyprus would be to the benefit of Turkey and be helpful for all regional issues.
He warned that ”Turkish leaders who make efforts to modernise their country and enter the EU will not acceed the EU without a prior solution of the Cyprus problem”.
Replying to a question if there is a possibility to impose timetables or if there is a plan B on behalf of the UN, the President expressed his appreciation for UNSG’s work, saying that
he never exerted any pressure.
The UNSG, he said, supports the Cyprus talks which are of Cypriot ownership and he does not impose any timetables.
Concluding, he said that when the UNSG refers to an international conference on Cyprus, he shares the same positions as the Republic of Cyprus, that it could be convened when the two sides are close to a solution.
President of the Republic, Demetris Christofias, had separate meetings earlier today with the Presidents of Iran, Georgia and Croatia, during which they discussed the Cyprus problem, regional issues and issues of mutual interest.
Speaking after the meetings, President Christofias said that he had the opportunity to analyze the current situation in Cyprus, and hear their own positions and concerns about the Cyprus problem and issues they face.
“The meetings were creative and the Presidents have expressed their support for the effort we make to find a solution for the Cyprus problem, based on principles”, the President said.
On his meeting with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President Christofias said that they discussed the Middle East problem and the issue of nuclear weapons.
“I explained that we are in favor of creating a Palestinian state and of course I explained our position on Israel’s right to coexist with an independent sovereign Palestinian state”, President Christofias said.
He expressed the belief that President Ahmadinejad will use nuclear energy exclusively for peaceful purposes.
The two Presidents also examined bilateral relations and both of them expressed determination to continue strengthening these ties.
The same determination was expressed during the meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who invited President Christofias to visit Tbilisi.
Finally, he said that the same good spirit prevailed during the talks with Croatian President, Ivo Josipovici, whose country is set to become a member of the European Union.