Nicos Christodoulides: Status quo poses risks for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots
The present state of affairs cannot be the solution of the Cyprus issue and it poses risks for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides has said.
In an interview with Kathimerini, the full version of which was published in its print edition with excerpts online, Christodoulides said President Nicos Anastasiades was clear during his meeting with UN envoy Jane Holl Lute last month on the intentions of the Greek Cypriot side and how a positive outcome could be achieved with a resumption of negotiations.
Lute, who was tasked by the UN chief to assess prospects for new talks, is expected to submit her report around September 17. In the meantime, there are likely to be behind-the-scenes developments when all parties will be in New York next month for the UN General Assembly.
In his interview, Christodoulides, referred to the possible withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force Unficyp saying such a move prior to a Cyprus solution, would have an impact on the region. He also spoke of the strategic nature of the US-Cyprus relationship and that there would be development soon that would attest to the upgrading of that relationship. Turkey-US relations are currently at a low point.
“We are not interested in creating impressions or playing the blame,” said Christodoulides.
“We are only interested in the substance of how and where the whole process can go because we are well aware that the present state of affairs cannot be the solution of the Cyprus problem and that it poses risks for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,” he added.
He said the dilemma of the Turkish Cypriots, currently suffering over the slide in the Turkish lira, and their financial dependence on Ankara, has never been clearer as to whether they want a future in a reunited country along with Greek Cypriots in a EU member state or a future with Turkey with what that will imply.
“I have the strong belief that the overwhelming majority of Turkish Cypriots prefer the former,” the minister said.
“The same clear dilemma exists for us as the Greek Cypriots, and I think our choice is clear. Do we want to continue a dangerous state of affairs such as the present one, which does not allow us to develop our country’s entire prospects or a reunited motherland as a whole on the basis of the principles and values of the EU and as such will take advantage of all its prospects, whether it concerns its role in the region or its future in general.”