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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-03-09

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The termination of the Turkish occupation and the de facto division of Cyprus is an imperative need of our times, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has stressed, adding that new initiatives need to be taken to the negotiating table, in order to rejuvenate the momentum for a solution.

    Speaking during a dinner at the House of Commons, in London, Stephanou said that the continuation of Turkeys occupation violates the human rights and the basic freedoms of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, adding that it also impedes Ankaras accession course to the EU. The Government Spokesman said it is not true that the Greek Cypriots do not want a solution, and noted that the continuation of the occupation constitutes a major problem for the Turkish Cypriots as well.

    Without the solution of the Cyprus question and with the continuation of the occupation, Turkey cannot hope to accede to the EU, he said and added that a solution would relieve Turkey from a tremendous burden that it carries with regard to its European aspirations.

    He further noted that the lack of settlement creates problems in the development of the integration of the European Union and the development of its relations with international organisations. Moreover, he said that it constitutes a permanent source of danger in the turbulent region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

    It is certainly not true that the Greek Cypriots allegedly dont want a solution because they have acceded to the EU Stephanou said. He stressed that this claim by Turkey is not true, since EU accession did not put an end to the refugee problem, their repatriation, the illegal colonisation of the occupied areas and the withdrawal of the occupation troops.

    Moreover, Stephanou said that the continuation of the occupation constitutes also a major problem for the Turkish Cypriots, who took to the streets in masses to demonstrate against the policy that Turkey implements against them.

    A large segment of the Turkish Cypriots now demand that Turkey withdraws from Cyprus, he said, and added that even their very own survival is already threatened due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of settlers that Turkey has illegally brought to the occupied part of Cyprus.

    Stephanou characterised the statement made by the Turkish Prime Minister during the demonstrations as particularly revealing, when the Turkish PM said that Turkeys presence in Cyprus is not for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots, but rather for Ankaras own strategic interests.

    Moreover the Spokesman noted that the Greek Cypriot side wants a solution urgently, adding that President Christofias is consistently submitting proposals at the negotiating table that are fully in line with the logic of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    He mentioned at this point the proposals submitted, including the interrelated discussion of the chapters of property, territory and settlers, which are objectively related with each other, as well as the return of the legal residents to the fenced-off city of Famagusta and the operation of the citys port under the auspices of the EU, so that Turkish Cypriots could develop trade relations with the Union.

    He further raised his concern on the partitionist rhetoric used by the Turkish Cypriot side, about the existence of two separate states and two peoples in Cyprus.

    This rhetoric has absolutely no relation with the prospect of the reunification of the country and its people within the framework of a federation Stephanou said. He noted that this rhetoric only serves separatist and divisive arrangements that violate all the relevant decisions about Cyprus, taken by the UN, the EU and other international organisations.

    The Government Spokesman underlined that there is a need for new movements to be made and new initiatives to be taken, that would rejuvenate the momentum for a solution and create the conditions for new convergences to be reached and progress to be achieved.

    He added that the negotiations conducted between President Christofias and the previous Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat brought to the surface the great divergence in the positions between the two sides. At the same time, he added, the possibilities to find convergences that could lead to an agreement came to the fore.

    Stephanou said that there has been virtually no progress in the negotiations since May 2010, when Dervis Eroglu became the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. Despite the assurances given that the talks were to continue on the same basis and from the point they were left off with Talat, many of the positions put forward by the Turkish Cypriot side now, constitute either retrogression or they overturn the basis of the negotiations he said.

    Concluding his speech, Stephanou noted that the time is ripe for a solution and underlined Turkeys critical role, as mentioned at the 2009 and 2010 EU Council Conclusions. He said that Turkey must understand that the Cyprus issue is not simply a problem for Cyprus and the Cypriots, but that it is also Turkeys problem and said that the solution of the Cyprus question can become a win-win situation for everybody.

    Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.


    The time for an historic reconciliation in Cyprus is now, President of the European Parliament (EP) Jerzy Buzek has said, calling at the same time on Ankara to meet its European obligations. «We expect Turkey`s support for the ongoing talks on the reunification of Cyprus,» President of the European Parliament (EP) Jerzy Buzek has said, adding that «the time for historic reconciliation in Cyprus is now.»

    Following the adoption of the resolution on Turkey`s 2010 progress report by the EP plenary, Buzek said that Turkey will be able to accelerate the pace of negotiations when it meets its Customs Union obligations towards the EU and moves towards normalisation of relations with Cyprus. A comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem is key to unblocking the whole process, he stressed.

    Buzek praised Turkish citizens` support, «in line with the spirit of Ataturk, for further democratisation and commitment to an open and pluralistic society», noting that Turkey has committed itself to reforms, good relations with its neighbours and future membership to the European Union. «Enlargement is a matter of shared values and common standards. Turkey needs to intensify efforts to meet the Copenhagen criteria and implement agreed reforms on the ground. I regret the current stalemate in the accession talks,» he said expressing hope that the Hungarian Presidency will be able to open talks on the competition chapter.

    Buzek also said that Turkey needs to improve its record on freedom of expression and religion. «We are concerned about the recent arrests of journalists in Turkey. The government has to step up its fight against corruption,» he said, adding that cross-party support for reforms and efficient public institutions are essential.


    The President of the Belgian Senate Danny Pieters has expressed his countrys commitment to UN declarations and principles and his hope that the process of direct negotiations and reunification of Cyprus and its people will soon bear fruit. Pieters, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus, expressed his disappointment over the lack of progress in the current peace process, due to Turkeys insistence on proposals for a confederation and the creation of two separate states, that lie outside the agreed framework for a solution and the relevant UN resolutions.

    House President Marios Garoyian stressed the ongoing efforts of the Greek Cypriot side to reach a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem, according to the UN relevant resolutions and EU principles and values.

    An official press release issued here said that Garoyian and Pieters commended the very good relations between Cyprus and Belgium, which are based on common principles and values, as well as the excellent level of cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries, especially in the EU framework, underlining the need to further strengthen and broaden these relations in the financial and cultural fields.


    The European Parliament has called on Turkey to begin immediately withdrawing its occupation forces from the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus, which they occupy since they invaded in 1974. The Parliament urges Ankara to show active support for the ongoing peace talks for a Cyprus settlement and to contribute in concrete terms to a comprehensive settlement.

    Euro MPs call ``on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot authorities`` to stop the influx of settlers from Turkey into Cyprus northern part and say that Ankara must facilitate access to military zones and archives to help resolve the humanitarian issue of missing persons.

    A resolution on Turkeys progress report relating to its accession negotiations, adopted by a large majority vote today by the Parliament, calls on the Turkish government and all parties concerned to give their active support to the ongoing negotiations on the Cyprus issue and to contribute in concrete terms to a comprehensive settlement.

    It calls on the Turkish government to facilitate a suitable climate for negotiations by starting to withdraw its forces from Cyprus immediately; strongly urges the two communities in Cyprus to work intensively, in accordance with the UN Secretary-Generals request, to capitalise on the progress already made in the negotiations, in order to reach a sustainable solution in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and promoting, in particular, Resolution 550 (1984), and with the principles on which the EU is founded for the benefit of Cypriot citizens, the EU and Turkey.

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