If Turkey proceeds with its threats to reopen the fenced-off city of Varosha, this will be the tombstone to the efforts to bring about a settlement to the Cyprus problem, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades warned on Tuesday.
He was addressing a reception in Nicosia for the 245th anniversary of the US independence.
The warning came in view of an illegal visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan to the occupied Famagusta on July 20, and the threats he has put forward.
Anastasiades also urged “the numerous Heads of Diplomatic Missions present today to convey to your Governments the need to impress upon Mr. Erdogan the need to refrain from inflaming further tensions through any new illegal actions, particularly as regards Varosha.”
“If Turkey proceeds with actions in relation to Varosha this will be the tombstone of not only resuming the negotiating process, but, and most importantly, to reaching a viable and functional settlement.”
Anastasiades then referred to the proposals he submitted concerning the adoption of confidence building measures with a view to defusing tensions and he noted that these proposals could address “all the issues related with Varosha, including its port, the airport at the occupied areas, the Additional Protocol, as well as the exploitation of hydrocarbons.”
President Anastasiades also expressed his deep appreciation for the continuous US support in reaching a settlement that would reunite Cyprus on the agreed basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions.
“A position which was reiterated by President Biden through his letter of May 28, 2021. A support of utmost importance, against the backdrop of the position of both Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leadership for a ‘two-state’ solution,” he said.
Furthermore, Anastasiades said the Turkish positions expressed in Geneva “regrettably did not allow the Secretary-General to move forward towards the resumption of the peace process, despite our efforts to achieve a breakthrough that would permit once again substantial negotiations to take place on the agreed basis and from where they were left off in Crans Montana.”
“In the face of this setback, I would like to yet again reiterate in the strongest manner my commitment to immediate engage in a new creative and meaningful dialogue, in full respect of the UN parameters, provided that the necessary conditions are in place and all stakeholders involved abstain from any illegal activities”, he concluded.
On her part, US Ambassador to Cyprus, Judith Garber reiterated that “we strongly support the efforts facilitated by the United Nations to resume formal negotiations for settling the Cyprus problem.
“In the same spirit of optimism that characterized the Kennedy Administration, the Biden administration is committed to supporting a Cypriot-led, UN-facilitated effort to reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation,” she said, pointing out that “President Biden remains convinced not only that a solution is possible, but that a reunited island would benefit all Cypriots and the wider region.”
Recalling the strong trade and investment ties, Garber stressed the US “recognizes the right of the Republic of Cyprus to develop the resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone and believes the island’s oil and gas resources should be shared equitably between both communities.”
The US diplomat referred to the devastating wildfires in Larnaca and Limassol over the weekend, noting “our hearts go out to the friends and families of those who died, and to all who lost their homes. I wish also to thank all the first responders who worked to contain the fire, from Cyprus, the UK, Greece and Israel.”