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H. E. Mr. Dimitris Christofias, President

24 September 2008

Statement Summary

DIMITRIS CHRISTOFIAS, President of Cyprus, said that his country’s experience emerging from colonialism and conflict engendered solidarity for all who struggled for survival and their own development.  Cyprus focused its overseas development assistance on a small number of countries in the area of infrastructure development for health and education services.  It was gradually increasing the number of countries it assisted.  Small States had a higher stake in multilateral diplomacy, and in a fair and functional system of collective security based on the principles of sovereign equality and respect for territorial integrity.

Cyprus had needed the support of the world community since the earliest days of its independence to face threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The will of the international community for Cyprus to survive had been evident in numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.  Further, he said, United Nations resolutions had provided for negotiations in the form of the good offices mission of the Secretary-General, and had defined the legal and political framework on which the discussions for the federal architecture of the Cypriot State would be built.  The good offices negotiations made Cypriots the owners of their own process, he added.

He went on to say that framework provided for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single personality, single indivisible sovereignty and single citizenship, and represented the only compromise on which a political arrangement could be built.  He noted that, on 3 September, a new intensive effort had begun with the aim of overcoming the impasses of the past and achieving progress that would lead to the reunification of Cyprus under mutually agreed terms, as well as to the withdrawal of foreign troops after 34 years of division and foreign occupation.  The role of the Cypriots, both Greek and Turkish, was to agree on what they wanted, something he believed could be achieved.

Turkey also had to contribute to the process, he continued.  It maintained 40,000 troops and tens of thousands of settlers in Cyprus and could determine the outcome of issues under discussion.  The solution should allow Greek and Turkish Cypriots “to live and work together in an independent, prosperous country, within the family of the European Union, without the presence of foreign armies and illegal colonists under conditions of security and respect for their identity and their rights”.

[Source: GA/10751]