President: Reuniting Cyprus, rather than blame games, is my priority

President: Reuniting Cyprus, rather than blame games, is my priority

President Nicos Anastasiades has stressed that his sincere priority and his vision is to reunite Cyprus and not to play, as he put it, “useless blame games”, expressing at the same time hope that the Turkish side will adopt a similar stance.

“Let us hope that the conditions for the resumption of the dialogue are created. What I would like to wish is that there will be a positive response by the other side to the good will of our side and that our strong desire for a solution will be the pursuit of the other side as well,” he said.

Asked if he feels pressure from foreign diplomats with regard to the need to resume the stalled UN-led peace talks on the Cyprus problem, the President replied: “I have not felt any pressure. Of course I hear advice that the dialogue should begin, and I have the impression that nobody needs to tell the Greek Cypriots, who for 40 years expect, await and pursue the solution at the earliest possible, whether they should return to the dialogue.”

“My answer to those who offer advice is that they should have intervened when the conditions for a dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect were being violated, so that an honest and productive dialogue can take place,” he added, replying to press questions on Sunday after he had attended the celebrations for the name day of Saint Maronas in Nicosia.

The President was also invited to comment on an interview British High Commissioner in Nicosia Rick Todd gave to “Kathimerini” in which – according to the journalist – Todd recommended that Nicosia should take into consideration the EU`s common position on Russia as regards the prospect of a military deal with Moscow.

“I would never offer recommendations about the policy of the British government”, he said. “We are a sovereign state and we decide”, he added, pointing out that the agreement with Russia has to do with “the renewal of an existing military deal and the possibility of providing certain facilities which are also granted to his own country, perhaps in excess, but also to other countries.”

Asked whether he will be discussing the matter of direct trade between the EU and the Turkish occupied areas of the island during his forthcoming meetings with European leaders, in Brussels, next week, he said yes.

“The legal opinions that have been issued on the subject should be better studied, and it is better to avoid groundless remarks on the issue at a time when delicate handling is needed,” he added.

In his address at the celebrations, President Anastasiades reiterated his position that Cyprus can once again become a paradise offering protection and equal opportunities of prosperity to all its legal residents and the entire Eastern Mediterranean region as well.

For this to happen, he pointed out, a solution must be found which will end Turkey`s continuing occupation, stop the influx of illegal Turkish settlers, rid Cyprus of foreign troops and restore and guarantee the inalienable human rights and basic freedoms of all its citizens. A solution, he added, of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which will unite the people, the country and the economy.

Engaging in tactics and useless blame games is not a government priority, he stressed. “Our priority is to find a solution and reunify our common homeland.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

On February 11, 2014, the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu agreed on a joint declaration by which they expressed their determination to resume structured negotiations in a results-oriented manner.

In October 2014 President Anastasiades suspended his participation in the talks 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. Repeated calls for the withdrawal of “Barbaros” went unheeded by Ankara, which announced in January the NAVTEX`s extension until April 6, 2015.