Christodoulides: A reunified Cyprus needs to remain a truly independent state without interference from a third country, CNA - Apostolos Zoupaniotis - USA/New York 01/10/2020
Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said that in the face of adversity and the Turkish provocation, our priority remains firmly to address current state of affairs, which will under no circumstances be acceptable as a solution to the Cyprus problem. The Cypriot Foreign Minister was speaking via a prerecorded message on Wednesday, September 30, at a webinar organized by the International Coordinating Committee “Justice of Cyprus” (PSEKA), in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus.
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou, US Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, and over 25 key members of Congress spoke at the event, along with 12 leaders of major Greek American Community organizations with AJC CEO David Harris and the Ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus to the United States.
A written message by Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis was read by the Ambassador of Greece to the United States, Alexandra Papadopoulou.
“We hope that following the completion of the election process in the occupied area, meaningful negotiations in a conducive environment aimed at resolving the Cyprus problem and reunifying the island on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation can resume, upon invitation by the UN Secretary General, from where negotiations stopped in Crans Montana”, Foreign Minister Christodoulides said at his prerecorded address.
He also noted that for this, “we rely on the support of the US Government to impress upon Turkey the necessity of refraining from provocative actions and concentrate its efforts to the resumption of the efforts for a settlement in Cyprus, as set out in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”
Christodoulides underlined that 46 years after the Turkish military invasion, Cyprus is experiencing a new Turkish aggression, this time extending to the sea surrounding Cyprus.
“At these challenging times for humanity due to the COVID pandemic, when countries have for the most part come together to fight a common enemy, Turkey has opted to take advantage of the situation, further escalating its provocative, illegal actions. In what can only be described as severe escalation of Turkey’s policy of violations of the sovereign rights of Cyprus.”
Underway is now that 6th Turkish illegal drilling operation in less than a year, while Turkey continues its illegal, consecutive seismic surveys in the Cyprus’ southern EEZ/continental shelf since January 2019, he said.
“This activity is coupled with heavy militarization of the seas around the island by the Turkish navy, putting the security and stability of the region at risk” the Minister went on.
Christodoulides also pointed out the threats by Turkey and the occupation regime to open the fenced area of Famagusta, in blatant violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in total disregard for the clear calls to refrain from doing so by the international community.
Addressing the current status of Cyprus – U.S. relations, Foreign Minister Christodoulides welcomed the recent US decisions for the partial lifting of the US arms embargo against Cyprus and the inclusion of Cyprus in the IMET programme, as well as the signing during Secretary Pompeo’s visit of the bilateral agreement to establish CYCLOPS, a joint training facility, in Larnaca, that will provide programs open to counterparts from like-minded countries, mainly from the region, in issues relating to Land, Open Seas and Port Security.
“All the regional developments of the last few years, have established Cyprus as a reliable U.S. partner in the regional security structures. It goes without saying that for the good of regional stability, in the context of a solution of the political problem, a reunified Cyprus needs to remain a truly independent state without interference from a third country in its internal affairs, so as to continue to function as a reliable partner and security provider in the region” he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Ankara sent on several occasions its seismic research vessel ‘Barbaros’ to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), following the Republic of Cyprus’ decision, in 2011, to start exploratory offshore drilling. After May 2019, Turkey caused a stir by sending consecutively two drill ships, “Fatih” and “Yavuz”, to conduct unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, at times in areas licensed by Cyprus to international energy companies.
The European Council reaffirmed its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law and in February 2020, placed two persons under restrictive measures, in relation to Turkey`s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY