The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK has welcomed the progress made towards finding a lasting and viable solution that reunifies Cyprus and its people, expressing “cautious optimism” following the Geneva conference on Cyprus.
In a statement the Federation notes that a number of crucial issues remain unresolved, but also highlights a few “firsts” in the reunification negotiations in Geneva.
It says that for the first time since 1974 the Turkish Cypriot community proposed a map that outlined the return of a proportion of the occupied territory under Greek Cypriot administration. “Unfortunately,” the statement notes, “this proposal does not seem to go far enough, although it will form the basis for further negotiations.”
It also comments that for the first time a multilateral conference on Cyprus’ future security arrangements, was held during which Turkey engaged in a dialogue, with, amongst others, the Republic of Cyprus to discuss the removal of the anachronistic system of guarantees and withdrawal of the occupying troops.
Referring to the Turkish President Erdogan’s statement following the Geneva conference that Turkey will remain in Cyprus “forever”, the National Federation speaks of “unacceptable” comments, that are also “unhelpful” in the context of the current negotiations.
As the statement notes, “the Greek Cypriot position on this issues is clear: A re-united Cyprus that is a member of the United Nations and the European Union provides the best form of security and guarantee of its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, against any external threats. In addition, a modern EU country cannot have a guarantor system or foreign troops on its island.”
The President of the National Federation of Cypriots, Christos Karaolis said: “As the Cypriot diaspora in the UK we continue to fully support President Anastasiades, who has demonstrated incredible political will and courage in his efforts to reunite Cyprus and its people.”
He went on to say that “it is becoming clear to all that the key to reuniting Cyprus lies in Turkey. Therefore, the time has come for Turkey to demonstrate with actions and not just words that it is serious about solving the Cyprus issue. Guarantees and Turkish troops have no place in a 21st century Cyprus.”