Nicosia.- (CNA) – Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat’s positions, as expressed in an interview with Euronews, are unacceptable, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said. Speaking here on Friday, Stephanou pointed out that Talat often complains and raises the issue of statements that help neither him nor the confidence building measures between the two communities.
”While he is complaining, he does not resist the temptation to state unacceptable positions on substantial issues of the Cyprus problem,” Stephanou said.
Stephanou noted that Talatʼs remarks about the non existence of Turkish settlers in Cyprus, ”two peoples” in Cyprus, and a partnership between ”two states” on the island, were unacceptable.
The Spokesman also wondered whether or not those positions will positively contribute to the efforts for the solution of the problem.
”We will continue to support a solution that is based on principles and unifies Cyprus and its people within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation,” Stephanou concluded.
Stephanos Stephanou has also called for patience until the announcement of confidence building measures on the island. Referring to the Cypriot Presidentʼs statement that measures on issues on which there is common ground will soon be announced, Stephanou said that “we will be very specific.”
Responding to questions, he said the opening of the Limnitis checkpoint is a high priority and included in the March 21 agreement between the leaders of the two communities.
As regards the beginning of full fledged negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem, he reiterated the Governmentʼs position for the need for progress on the level of the technical committees and the working groups so as to move on to negotiations for a comprehensive settlement.
He concluded that the situation will be evaluated at the next meeting between the leaders of the two communities in mid June.
A Cypriot official said here today that the first international maneuvers, code-named “Argonaftis” to be conducted from June 2 to 6 in the southern government controlled part of the country and in international waters, have a purely humanitarian profile and therefore protests by the Turkish side against these maneuvers are unjustified.
Presenting the plan prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with other government departments and especially the National Guard, the Police and the Civil Defence Department, code-named “ESTIA”, the Ministry’s Division of Consular Affairs/Schengen Director Phaedon Anastasiou, who is the coordinator of the plan, said that “ESTIA is the result of a major collective effort and aims at the coordination of efforts by state departments to address situations, such as the massive arrival in Cyprus of foreign citizens due to a severe political crisis or an armed conflict in the area and the allocation of human aid to them.”
Anastasiou referred to the experiences Cyprus had when it received refugees from Lebanon in July 2006 on the basis of which ESTIA has been prepared. He noted that several tabletop exercises have been conducted with the participation of competent government departments to assess the effectiveness of the plan.
He said that part of the plan, in its primary stages, was implemented during the recent political unrest in Lebanon.
Furthermore, he noted that “Argonaftis” will be conducted in the framework of ESTIA, adding that sea and air forces from France and Greece will also be participating.
He said that all countries use their armed forces to address national disasters and so “the protests by Turkish Cypriots are unjustified.”
”It is a purely humanitarian maneuver. The scenarios are known and none of them are military,” he added.