Cyprus committed to reunification, President tells General Assembly

President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias (right) arrives at UN Headquarters for the opening of the General Assembly general debate

22 September 2011 – The President of Cyprus told the General Assembly today that his administration remains committed to a mutually-agreed reunification of the Mediterranean island and ending what he described as the “occupation and illegal colonization of settlers by Turkey” in parts of Cyprus.

‘We seek a solution that reunifies the country and its people and creates conditions of lasting peace and security on the island,” Demetris Christofias told the Assembly’s annual general debate.

He said that direct negotiations between the leaders of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots over the past three years had achieved “convergences” on various aspects of the dispute, but “the Turkish Cypriot side is retracting on the negotiating table, including from previously found convergences.”

“This change in the Turkish Cypriot leadership’s stance feeds on recent negative and provocative policy of Turkey in the region,” he added.

Mr. Christofias said Cyprus’ exploration and potential extraction of hydrocarbons from its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) had been met with threats from Turkey, and that Turkish naval ships had been engaged in manoeuvres in Cyprus’ EEZ, actions he called “provocative and a real danger for further complication in the region.”

He also accused Turkey of illegally concluding an “agreement with the illegal regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus” so it could carry out oil exploration in Cyprus’ EEZ.

“Instead of adopting a constructive stance in the negotiations towards a prompt solution to the Cyprus problem, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership are trying to create tension and illegal faits-accompli.

“Ankara’s latest threats, directed against a EU [European Union] Member State, come at a time when Turkey seeks the opening of new chapters in its EU accession negotiation.”

He pledged that he will continue to work to strengthen cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, stressing that rapprochement of the two communities is an integral part of his Government’s policy.


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