Cyprus Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, has said that April 27th, when an informal conference on Cyprus will begin in Geneva, constitutes a crucial milestone for the Cyprus problem and EU-Turkey relations, as Turkey`s behaviour will be evident in practice.
Christodoulides represented the government on Thursday at a service in Panayia Chrysolofitisssa church, in Lofou village. In statements to the media he noted the need for a collective approach and unity in the domestic front, in view of efforts for the resumption of Cyprus talks.
Christodoulides stressed that what matters is to create the conditions to terminate the occupation of Cyprus and to reunite the country, on the basis of UN resolutions and EU principles and values.
Replying to a question he recalled the EU High Representative Josep Borrell`s report, noting that it “highlights the Cyprus problem as the most decisive factor for someone who wants the improvement of EU-Turkey relations.”
This is crystal clear in the report, the Foreign Minister stressed, noting that all this will be discussed on Thursday by the EU member states leaders “and what we ask is for the joint statement of the 27 to reflect this.”
“We have a crucial appointment at the end of April which I consider, just as the EU and Borrell himself considers and has stated in public, that it will be a first milestone as regards Turkey`s behaviour,” he added.
Christodoulides went on to say that depending on Turkey`s behaviour “we are ready to look into all the issues related to a positive approach towards the EU-Turkey relations.” He reiterated that this first milestone is important “especially for the Cyprus problem, which is the one that mostly affects the EU-Turkey relations, to see in practice Turkey`s substantive contribution towards a Cyprus settlement, on the basis of the agreed solution framework.”
Replying to another question, Christodoulides said that the presence of the EU at the negotiations on Cyprus from the beginning will be something important.
“This will have an added value for all the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, not just for the Greek Cypriots,” Christodoulides noted.
He said that the Republic of Cyprus is and will continue to be an EU member state after the settlement of the Cyprus problem, and the EU itself has every interest in reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem that will allow its member state to continue to be effective within the Union.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister, Charalambos Petrides, expressed hope, in statements he made after a service he attended in Larnaca, that on April 27th a process will begin that will lead to a Cyprus settlement.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively. The informal conference on Cyprus will take place 27-29 of April in Geneva.