Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are calling upon Ankara to withdraw immediately from the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and for both leaders to return to the negotiating table for an urgent solution to the Cyprus problem.
The remarks were made during a press conference today by the Bicommunal Peace Initiative – United Cyprus at the Home of Cooperation in the buffer zone.
Coordinator of the Initiative, Christos Efthimiou said that after considering the crisis that has been developing in the recent weeks, and ways to intervene in the current developments, the Initiative has formulated certain steps to follow in the months to come.
President of the NGO Socio-political Studies Institute Takis Hadzidemetriou said the “we express frustration from the existing situation”.
He described the current deadlock due to Turkey`s presence in Cyprus` EEZ and subsequent interruption of the talks “as a great disadvantage which encourages only the intransigent or nationalistic elements which are willing to promote the division of the island something which we consider not only unacceptable and impractical but it does not comply with the interests of the people of Cyprus”.
For this reason, he said, “we are working with all our efforts to see end the stalemate finish and negotiations to start again”.
“We want to convey message that without a solution or settlement I think both the expectation of the natural gas and the economic situation cannot be faced”, Hadzidemetriou added.
We are working firmly and steadfast with the belief that we are serving the real interests of the people, he said, adding that those who have negative approach, have a big coverage and it appears they represent the people of Cyprus.
“I am afraid we have to give the message that we also exist and there are people and forces that are willing to see the Cyprus problem solved and deadlock end and fruitful negotiations to start again with the hope for a better future”, he added.
Elciz said “we would like to raise the voice of the Cypriots at the negotiating table. We are the real people of Cyprus, we want a solution, reunification of the island. This is the clear message that we would like to give to everybody because we have been living in depression nowadays because of the recent developments because of Cyprus EEZ and Turkey`s policies. We have to raise the common voice of Cyprus”, he declared.
The Bi-communal Peace Initiative – United Cyprus, in a statement, notes that the reservation of a large section of the Cypriot EEZ off the southern coast of Cyprus by Turkey and its subsequent entrance into the EEZ of Cyprus, along with the freezing of the negotiations by the Greek Cypriot leadership, have accentuated the discourse of intransigence, promoted by the forces of partition in Cyprus. It calls on the two sides to immediately proceed with the process of de-escalation by returning to the negotiating table.
It also calls on Ankara “to withdraw immediately from the Cypriot EEZ”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern third.
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades decided to suspend his participation in the UN-backed negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem, after Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros entered Cyprus` exclusive economic zone, a few days after Turkey had issued an illegal maritime order (NAVTEX) for the area.