Nicosia.- (CNA) – Our firm goal is to end the Turkish occupation of our country and reunify Cyprus under a bizonal, bicommunal federation, President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has stressed. Addressing Friday evening an event in Pafos, in memory of Cyprus’ first President the late Archbishop Makarios III, President Christofias said that the struggle for vindication is supported by the principles of international law, relevant UN resolutions, as well as EU principles and values.
“We seek an honorable compromise to reunify Cyprus, its people, the land, the institutions, society and the economy. We seek a just, viable and functional solution”, he underlined.
Our firm goal, he went on to add, “is to end the occupation and reunify Cyprus on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, for one state with one and only sovereignty, a single citizenship and international personality, that will respect and implement human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
The Cypriot President referred to the proposals submitted recently by the Turkish Cypriot side on the chapter of governance, which is under discussion at the UN – led Cyprus talks.
He reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side has unanimously rejected those proposals describing them as unacceptable. They included, among other terms, the creation of two FIRs in a reunited Cyprus and the allocation of rights, which European citizens enjoy, to Turkish nationals on the island.
“Turkey’s communication tactics were addressed immediately by our side in a factual and effective manner”, the President pointed out.
President Christofias warned that the Greek Cypriot side must not abandon the negotiations, despite the fact that the proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side are unacceptable, since this “would be the best present for Turkey”, which would intensify its propaganda.
He also referred to the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979 between Makarios –Denktash and Kyprianou – Denktash, saying that the agreement for a bizonal, bicommunal federation was not a choice for the Greek Cypriot side, it was a solution of necessity to help reunite Cyprus.
As regards his recent visit to Athens, where he held a series of meetings with the Greek leadership, he said that “there was an identity of views and full support of our efforts through the bicommunal dialogue to achieve a peaceful and agreed solution based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation”.
President of the Republic Demetris Christofias had a telephone conversation on Friday with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown.
According to an official announcement issued here today, in the light of the letter sent by the President of the Republic to the British Prime Minister regarding the content of Turkish proposals on a political settlement in Cyprus, President Christofias briefed Brown on the course of the ongoing UN-led negotiations to reach a solution.
On his part, British Prime Minister showed keen interest in the efforts of the President to resolve the Cyprus problem.
BAN TO VISIT CYPRUS
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will make his first visit to Cyprus early next month to give a boost to ongoing negotiations between the two leaders, a diplomatic source said to English language daily “Cyprus Mail”. ccording to the source, Ban intends on passing through Cyprus to meet the leaders for a day or two in the first week of February as he shuttles between Europe and North Africa on official visits. His visit will come following the conclusion of the intensive talks, for which the second and final phase of three-day talks will begin this Monday. It is hoped that his presence will help push the talks forward.
“He wants to demonstrate how interested he is in seeing this through, and providing as much support as he can to the leaders and the process while giving the talks a little bit of extra impetus,” said the diplomat.
Previous reports had suggested that Ban would only come to the divided island if real progress was made in the talks. Another option was to come if the talks had made good progress but reached a stumbling block and needed that extra push from a high-profile figure.
So far, it seems neither scenario is currently prevailing, suggesting a third option, that he’s coming to let the leaders know that the world is watching and waiting, while at the same time lending tacit support to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat as he prepares for his re-election bid.
Asked why the UN chief is coming now, the source replied: “It’s as good a time as any.”
The diplomat denied that the talks would come to a standstill in February because of upcoming ‘presidential’ elections in the north. There may be a lull in the talks but they were not ending, he noted.
“There may be talks in February. The understanding is that they will slow down a bit, but not stop. The leaders may meet a lot less regularly, but it’s hoped that their representatives will continue to meet,” he said.
Next week’s anticipated conclusion of the intensive talks will be an exercise in diplomacy that all students of the subject would want to follow. Talat needs to show that real progress has been made if he is to boost confidence in his candidacy among the Turkish Cypriot community. Various polls show him lagging behind his main contender, Dervis Eroglu, who has frequently spoken of a two-state solution.
On the other side of the same coin, President Demetris Christofias is likely hoping that the need for progress will encourage the Turkish Cypriot side to align itself more with the positions of the Greek Cypriots.
However, progress in the talks means both sides making compromises and both sides selling that compromise as a positive force for change.