The Turkish Cypriot community is soon to elect its new leadership. Following such an important moment, it is to be hoped that conditions will prevail that would allow a solution to our longstanding problem to be found, so that once again Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots may live together in their common homeland, without checkpoints, barbed wires and armies separating them.
The European Union has thrived during the last 56 years, gaining strength from a wealth of diversity founded on a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi religious framework and on principles and values which promote cooperation, coexistence and tolerance.
This is why Cypriots as well, deserve to live in a truly European environment, which does not allow divisions based on ethnic origin or religion.
Given that the inter-communal negotiations will most certainly restart in the next few weeks, it would be important to recall and reiterate the agreed objective of this process.
What we envisage is a bicommunal and bizonal federal Cyprus which will have a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship, a fully functional member state of the EU.
One of our fundamental differences with the current Turkish Cypriot leadership and Turkey is precisely the content they attach to this objective, which aims instead at a confederal arrangement of two separate states based on ethnic separation and division.
With this in mind, while respecting and preserving the Cypriotness of the process, the international stakeholders and especially the United Nations and the EU, should keep the two interlocutors focused on the federal objective and on the principles upon which the European Union is founded.
Despite obstacles encountered, we should remain vigilant and ensure that everyone realises that there is no alternative to reunification.
Partition will be disastrous not only for the Cypriots, but also for Greece and Turkey and for peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It is our obligation to safeguard the prospects for peace and prosperity for our children and the future generations of Cypriots.
We remain optimistic that soon all will recognise our common interests and start building and nurturing our shared future in our common homeland.
We have an inherent obligation to reunite this island and our people, by knocking down the walls that separate us and embarking on bolstering cooperation, reconciliation and progress.
For the past several years the Republic of Cyprus has been exercising its sovereign rights with regard to the exploration and exploitation of its natural resources and wealth in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which belong to the people of Cyprus as a whole, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins.
Therefore, Cyprus’ much-anticipated hydrocarbon reserves and future revenues should be seen as an incentive to solve the Cyprus problem, reunite the island and help in peace building activities and growth post solution.
The soonest we reunite the island, the soonest the Turkish Cypriots will be able to share the benefits of this remarkable development that could provide prosperity and progress to the island and to the people of Cyprus for generations to come.
Turkey is our close neighbour and our vision for the future includes cooperation with Turkey.
For this to be materialised, Turkey must put an end to its military occupation of Cyprus territory, withdraw its occupation troops and allow the Cypriots to decide on their common future.
The time has come to turn a page in our history and our relations. They hold the key. They should use it for the benefit of both countries, for the benefit of the Cypriots and for the benefit of peace and stability in our turbulent region.