President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said on Sunday that he is ready to enter talks, adding that he has no objections with regard to the place or date of a tripartite meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Moreover, he expressed hope that the voice of Cyprus will be heard loud and clear at the European Council, next Thursday, and that decisions will be taken concerning Turkish actions in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus.
Addressing the 39th Morphou anti-occupation rally, at the Astromeritis Cultural Center, a few meters away from the roadblock leading to the occupied town, President Anastasiades said he is determined to work for a settlement, but not for “any solution”, and added that there are limits to the concessions that can be made.
Replying to criticism, the President wondered if he should ever accept a solution providing for Turkish guarantees, the permanent presence of Turkish troops on the island and a positive Turkish Cypriot vote on state decisions, that would paralyze the state.
He said that he will work tirelessly in order to achieve a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem, that is truly viable and functioning and will allow people to hope.
“I am willing, I am ready for a meeting anywhere, I made this [clear] during my recent meeting with the Secretary-General” President Anastasiades said, in relation to a tripartite meeting that would lead to an agreement on the terms of reference and the resumption of settlement talks.
He said that he has no objections whether the meeting will be held in Paris or elsewhere, nor has he any objections about dates.
Moreover, the President underlined the need to contribute to a spirit of consensus and of confidence-building in order to allow for the resumption of talks, pointing at the same time to Turkish actions in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus, which he characterized as “a second invasion.”
There is a limit as to how many concessions can be made, and many concessions were made from the Greek Cypriot side, the President noted, adding that it is the Turkish Cypriot side that is backpedalling.
He said that unity is required, due to “visible dangers” and pointed towards Turkey’s military operations in Syria. He referred to powerful countries, permanent members of the Security Council, and said that there is only disappointment with their stance vis-à-vis the Turkish invasion in Syria.
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.
Turkey has dispatched several vessels in areas that fall within the continental shelf/EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus. According to a navigational warning, Turkish drill ship “Yavuz” is set to carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus.
“Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.
Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.
Cyprus has called on drill ship “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.
A navigational telex (navtex), published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels that they will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.
In response to Turkish activities in Cyprus’ EEZ, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures, suspending, among others, negotiations with Ankara on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and postponing the Association Council and other EU-Turkey meetings. Moreover, the Council reduced the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in the country.
In accordance with the 20 June 2019, European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.