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Media Watch 2010

08 May 2010
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Turkey must allow reunified Cyprus
President Christofias has stressed that Turkey must give new Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu the green light for effective negotiations for a real reunified, federal Cyprus.

NICOSIA - President Christofias has stressed that Turkey must give new Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu the green light for effective negotiations for a real reunified, federal Cyprus.

President Christofias, who received the credentials of the new High Commissioner of the Republic of Sierra Leone Edward Mohamed Turay, said that “in spite of our concerns, we await constructive proposals by Mr Eroglu, a reaffirmation of the agreed basis, as well as a continuation of the negotiations in the framework of the same procedure, from the point they were interrupted in March 2010”.

He also reiterated the call of the European Union on Turkey “to work towards a solution and not merely play lip-service, as it has been doing to the present day”.

Turkey, he went on to add, has to prove that it wants to solve the Cyprus problem and that it respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, which it still violates by its occupation and continued colonization of Cyprus with Turkish settlers. 
“It must also give the new Turkish Cypriot leader the green light for effective negotiations for a real reunified, federal Cyprus”, he underlined. 

He recalled that with former T/c leader Mehmet Ali Talat they agreed that the solution would provide for a bizonal, bicommunal, federation, with political equality as set out in the respective Security Council resolutions, with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality. 

Also, that the negotiation procedure would be for the Cypriots and by the Cypriots, without artificial timetables and arbitration, aimed at finding a mutually agreed and acceptable solution, to be put forward for approval by the two communities of Cyprus in simultaneous and separate referenda. 

“For eighteen months, together with Mr Talat, we had worked on the basis of this framework, making progress on some important aspects of the Cyprus problem. It had been hoped that more progress could have been achieved. It had been hoped that during these eighteen months more convergences could have been reached on the various chapters of the negotiations”, he said. 

It had been hoped, President Christofias added, “that Mr Talat would have been more forthcoming in some of his proposals, while keeping in mind the true interests of all Cypriots: Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins. Unfortunately, Mr Talat was not autonomous, nor flexible, being under the thumb of Turkey, which often led to unconstructive positions submitted by the Turkish side”.
“However, we must look forward and the positive elements of our work together have to be maintained”, he said. 

President Christofias went on to note that “we await to see the positions of Mr. Talat's successor, Mr. Eroglu, who is now at the helm of the Turkish Cypriot community. It is hoped that now that Mr. Eroglu has the responsibility of representing the Turkish Cypriot community at the negotiation table, and despite indications to the contrary, he will retract from his oft-declared and long-held belief in the existence of 'two peoples' and 'two separate states', which would create a new partnership in the form of a loose confederation”.

He noted that Eroglu won as a result of the illegal settler vote. Furthermore, he underlined that the transfer by Turkey, the occupation force, of part of its own civilian population to the occupied areas of Cyprus, as well as the continued presence of settlers, is in violation of international law, including inter alia the 1949 Geneva Convention and its 1977 Additional Protocol I.

The Cypriot President warned that Turkey's course of becoming a member of the EU cannot remain unaffected and unhampered if its intransigence, provocative stance and its refusal to meet its obligations continue.

He recalled that these obligations include the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the implementation of the Ankara Protocol to all EU member states, including the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods and restrictions on means of transport.

“Turkey must fulfill all the obligations that it has undertaken, as well as actively and positively contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem. It is not in the interest of Turkey to continue with policies which cause grave problems both for itself but also the European Union, since this has resulted in the freezing of a large number of Ankara's accession chapters”, he went on to add.

Referring to the relations between Cyprus and Sierra Leone, he said that in the last few decades, their Governments have been developing solid ties of friendship and cooperation, based upon the genuine understanding and respect for each other's independence and sovereignty and the need to live in an environment of democratic values and economic and social development.

“Through our common struggles in the Non-Aligned Movement, we have cemented our cooperation. Since 2004, with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, we are able to expand our relations through the EU-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) cooperation”, he pointed out.

He reassured that Cyprus stands ready to assist the friendly people of Sierra Leone in their endeavors for economic prosperity and social development.

“The scholarships recently offered by Cyprus to Sierra Leone in the field of Forestry were the first step in the prospective technical cooperation between our governments and institutions and we look forward to extending further this cooperation”, he concluded.

In his reply, the High Commissioner expressed his country’s support to the efforts “of both parties to the Cyprus problem through the ongoing negotiation process, under the auspices of the United Nations to reach a comprehensive, viable, fair and just settlement based on a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality as defined by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions”.

He said that the presentation of his credentials “will serve as a milestone in enhancing the strong and good diplomatic ties between our two countries, and will further open new avenues in trade, tourism and other vital areas of co-operation”.

Furthermore, he expressed his determination to maintain and further strengthen the already existing friendly relations of fraternity and understanding between the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Sierra Leone.

The High Commissioner thanked President Christofias “for the great support your country gave us during our ten year civil war which ended in January 2002, and the sustained effort your Government continues to make in strengthening our relations in political, economic as well as cultural domains”.

Concluding, he said that the two countries have always shared common interest in the Commonwealth, the UN and other international institutions on both bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest, and assured of his Government’s will to enhance its effort in that direction.