No solution in Cyprus is possible without the concrete contribution of Turkey and regrettably, Turkey, beyond mere rhetoric, has yet to undertake practical steps, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has stressed.
Addressing on Monday the American Jewish Committee Annual Board meeting in Chicago, the Cypriot President said that Cyprus, belonging in a region where peace and stability are most expensive commodities, is exerting intense efforts to find a solution to the forty-one year old Cyprus problem.
“With the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community we share a common vision to reunify our country and its people in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions, High Level Agreements and the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014”, he added.
Referring to Turkey, the President said that it has yet to undertake practical steps.
“Let me be clear: no solution is possible without the concrete contribution of Turkey. Regrettably, Turkey, beyond mere rhetoric, has yet to undertake practical steps”, he stressed, adding that “we are counting on our friends and allies, including the AJC and the US Government to convey in the strongest terms this message to Turkey”.
Referring to the Cyprus – Israel relations, he said that “over the last years we have been writing a new and bold chapter in the history of our relations with Israel”.
“The exchange of high level meetings, most recently in June by myself in Israel and in July by Prime Minister Netanyahu in Cyprus, is merely the tip of the iceberg”, he said, adding that
“we are two countries in a turbulent yet important neighborhood that faces many common challenges. For Israel, Cyprus is a stable, predictable and reliable partner and vice-versa”.
He pointed out that the discovery of hydrocarbons has created impetus in their bilateral relationship and has undoubtedly opened new horizons both in the bilateral and regional cooperation.
“This translates into much needed energy security, diversification, and exports for both countries”, he said.
The Cypriot President underlined that the strategic importance of energy cooperation between Cyprus and Israel is also of particular importance to the United States and Europe, mainly in offering an alternative energy corridor route for the EU.
At the same time, he said, we believe that the huge recent discovery of the Zohr natural gas field in the exclusive economic zone of Egypt enhances the prospects for further synergies in the region.
“Energy can serve as a catalyst for stability and co-operation in our volatile region” he underscored.
Referring to the Middle East Peace Process, he said “ we hope that the ultimate goal of peace, through a mutually agreed two state solution, will be the basis for a more stable and secure future”.
The Cypriot President noted that Cyprus enjoys the trust of both sides, and is ready to facilitate their efforts in every possible way.
He referred to his proposal to the President of the European Council to invite separately both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to a Summit of the European Council to present their own point of view and vision.
In addition, he said that recently, following “my personal initiative and a series of coordinated actions so as to gain the support of a number of EU member-states that share the view that the EU should undertake a more proactive role in the region, the President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk, visited Israel and Palestine”.
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided by Turkish troops since the Turkish invasion in the summer of 1974. UN led talks aiming at reunifying the island under a federal solution are underway.