President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades called on the Turkish Cypriot leader to abandon his accusations and return to the negotiating table in a constructive manner, with a view to reach a solution in Cyprus that would meet the expectations of both communities.
Speaking at the Presidential Palace, after Thursday`s meeting between himself and T/C leader Mustafa Akinci, President Anastasiades expressed sorrow for the outcome of the meeting.
During their short meeting in the framework of the negotiations for a Cyprus solution, which began at 1000 in the morning local time, Anastasiades and Akinci elaborated on their positions as regards a decision taken by the Cypriot Parliament on Friday to commemorate the 1950 Enosis Referendum in schools.
President Anastasiades stressed that while the discussion was taking place in a friendly and constructive manner, after a short break as a result of a disagreement between the Greek Cypriot side and the UN, the Turkish Cypriot delegation left the meeting without any reason.
The President said that the Turkish Cypriot leader`s claims as to what happened during today`s meeting are not the real facts and expressed his belief that UNSG`s Special Advisor for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, who was present at the meeting, will set things straight.
Replying to a question, the President expressed the view that the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side during today`s meeting had been decided in advance.
He emphasized that the Greek Cypriot side and himself remain fully committed to the achievement of a viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, and the continuation of the dialogue as agreed before the UN Secretary General on the 12th of January 2017.
The President said that UNSG Envoy Espen Barth Eide tried to convince the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to return, however he was uncompromising.
President Anastasiades explained that during the meeting Akinci reiterated what he publicly has stated in relation to the concerns of the Turkish Cypriot community because of the decision taken by the House of Representatives, to commemorate in schools a referendum held in 1950 in favor of Cyprus` union with Greece. He pointed out that he explained to Akinci that these concerns are not justified and he referred to the unanimous statement by the National Council taken on Monday, which clearly underlines that the objective is not the union with Greece and is not of course the partition. He also repeated that the Turkish Cypriot side cannot doubt the will of the Greek Cypriots for a solution.
President Anastasiades said that the unanimous statement of the National Council speaks of the commitment to a solution that is fully compatible with the resolutions of the UN General Assembly as well as the Security Council resolutions.
He also repeated that he will not allow anyone to doubt or question our side’s sincere will for a solution that will be accepted by both communities.
The President said that during today’s meeting he referred to various incidents that disregard the sensitivities of the Greek Cypriot community, pointing out that he never sought to stop the dialogue, he did not ask the Turkish Cypriot leader to assume any responsibility or to correct the decisions taken by the political parties in the Turkish Cypriot community.
Furthermore, the President said that he highlighted the progress that has been achieved and the fact that it is important to focus on continuing the negotiations in order to address the remaining differences.
President Anastasiades added that in today’s meeting he pointed out that one should not seek excuses in order to avoid the assumption of responsibility that Turkey bears or to allow Turkey to raise demands that do not concern the interests of the Cypriot people.
He went on to say that such approaches undermine the whole process and are not consistent with is publicly proclaimed. The President called on Turkey once again to contribute to solving fundamental issues of the Cyprus problem that have to do with the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community.
He said that inappropriate or unnecessary decisions or statements give pretext to Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot community and they are exploited in order for them to avoid taking any responsibility.
The President of the Republic also went on to say that the Greek Cypriot side remains fully committed to finding a viable and functional solution and to the continuation of the dialogue as agreed before the UN Secretary General in Geneva on January 12, 2017.
He urged the Turkish Cypriot leader to return to the dialogue and show constructive spirit so that they can achieve a comprehensive solution that meets the expectations of both communities.
Invited to comment on a statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader that it was the President who first walked out of the meeting, he said that the journalists themselves are witnesses to what happened as they were informed from the Turkish Cypriot media that Akinci left the talks, while he (the President) arrived that the Presidential Palace at least half an hour later as he was waiting for Special Envoy Eide to convince Akinci to return to the negotiating table.
Asked about the UN stance and Eide’s efforts, the President said that Eide made an attempt to create an environment of understanding and while referring to the concerns expressed by the Turkish Cypriots, he suggested that they are maybe wrong or right.
He explained that he responded to that saying that it is not accepted for him to doubt the will and intentions of the Greek Cypriot side, especially having witnessed after two years, the stance of the Greek Cypriot side.
The President said that after that, he asked for a small break and while he was outside, the Turkish Cypriot leader and his team walked out. He went on to say that not even Eide himself realised what had happened, he remained in the room and he did not go out to greet the leaders and their teams, as he always does.
He pointed out that Akinci’s statements do not respond to the real situation, adding that he wishes to be really careful in what he says as he does not want to exacerbate the situation. He also expressed his hope that Eide will state the real facts, adding that he will also brief the UNSG on the incident and the accurate facts.
He also spoke about events that are celebrated by the Turkish Cypriots that offend the Greek Cypriots.
President Anastasiades also said that never before an issue was brought up about the celebrations for April 1st, which mark the anniversary of the Cypriot anti-colonial liberation struggle of 1955-1959 and represent the desire and objective for union with Greece.
He pointed out that if our wish is the reunification of our country, we must abandon any pretexts and focus on what is important and crucial in order to give our country hope.
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since 1974. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.