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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-14

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso assured on Friday that the EU would firmly support a renewed process for a Cyprus settlement, adding that the lack of real progress was detrimental both for Cyprus and the EU.

    Speaking after a meeting in Brussels with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, Barroso expressed hope that the Turkish side would also address efforts for a settlement in a spirit of good will.

    President Christofias assured that he would do everything in his power to reunify the country under the umbrella of a bizonal bicommunal federation, and that he would honour the signature of his predecessor, Tassos Papadopoulos, on the 8 July 2006 agreement, expressing hope that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat would honour his own signature.

    Barroso said he had a ``very interesting but also very promising meeting`` with President Christofias, whom he congratulated for his election to the presidency of Cyprus and wished him every success.

    The Commission President said it was also a pleasure to welcome former Health Commissioner Marcos Kyprianou as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    ``I can see in President Christofias the sense of history, the sense that he has now a very important responsibility and that he is ready to assume this responsibility. I am very pleased that you have stated your readiness to resume negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue,`` he said.

    Barroso added that the EU would ``firmly stand behind a renewed process for solving this issue`` and noted that ``the ongoing stalemate, the lack of real progress during the last four years is detrimental both for Cyprus and the EU.``

    ``I rely on your strong will and determination to move fast towards the solution,`` he said to President Christofias.

    He added that during their meeting, they also discussed ``the contribution that Cyprus can give to the European project`` and that President Christofias, who participated for the first time in the European Council, made his own contribution to the discussion.

    Barroso said Cyprus is already playing a role in the EU but can play ``an even more important role in the region with its tradition and its location,`` adding that it is ``a very important region for Europe and the world.``

    Referring to the Mediterranean Union, which was discussed during the European Council, Barroso said he saw ``enormous potential for Cyprus and for the relations between Cyprus and the EU.``

    ``Of course, as the President of Cyprus has said many times, it takes two to tango. I am of course now speaking with the President of Cyprus, I am encouraging him to make a real effort but of course, I also make the same appeal to the other party. It is important that everyone make a real contribution to see a solution for the Cyprus problem. It would be great for Cyprus and also very important for the EU,`` he added.

    President Christofias thanked Barroso for the ``warm welcome`` and noted that the commitments he has made are ``very serious and I assure you that your vision for the reunification of the island is first of all my vision, and the Cypriots as a whole.``

    He noted that Cyprus ``must finally become a peaceful island, a bridge between the EU and the neighbours in this crucial region,`` with which Cyprus has developed ``very close relations.``

    ``This is the first obligation, to solve the problem, to find a common language with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots. We knew this language before, together with Mr. Talat. I want to believe and I believe that we shall renew this promise,`` he said, adding, ``We want the EU to have a peaceful Cyprus, instead of being a problem.``

    President Christofias assured that he would do his ``utmost in order to fulfil this mission, to put an end to the occupation, to reunify the country under the umbrella of a bizonal bicommunal federation, to live together with the Turkish Cypriots peacefully and in conditions of prosperity.``

    Replying to questions, Barroso said, ``the process of reconciliation and of peace and of reunification means at least two, and so I hope that we find the same spirit in the Turkish Cypriot side.``

    ``I have already met sometimes Mr. Talat and I can tell you that I always conveyed that message to him as well and I think now that there is a possibility for a breakthrough. I told President Christofias, and of course he knows that, that his election was received in Europe and outside of Europe as a possibility, a very important possibility for a solution to the Cyprus problem, so I can encourage of course Mr. Talat, the Turkish Cypriots, to make an effort and use this opportunity for the good of Cyprus as a whole,`` he said.

    Barroso added that ``we certainly hope that Turkey also has a constructive role to play in this situation.``

    Asked about a letter sent to Barroso by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stating Turkey`s willingness to support a new effort for a Cyprus settlement, and what the starting point would be for the negotiations since the Greek Cypriot side said this was the 8 July 2006 agreement and the Turkish Cypriot side said this was the Annan plan, Barroso said he would not make mediation in public.

    He pointed out that ``what is more important than the start of the negotiations is the end of the negotiations.``

    ``Let us concentrate on the goal. This is the important thing,`` he added, noting that ``if there are persons with good will on both sides, and I really believe there are, concentrate on the goal, forget about the technicalities.``

    Barroso said the aim was ``a reunified, democratic Cyprus, full member of the EU, with our common values of freedom, peace, democracy and more, living in good harmony with all its neighbours and of course we give importance also to the good relations we have with Turkey and to the progress we want to see in the relations we are having now with Turkey, namely our negotiations.``

    Replying to the same question, President Christofias said the Annan plan has been rejected by the Greek Cypriot community, and the UN have not said they would reintroduce this plan.

    ``The international community believes that we have to start on something on which we both agree and the only agreement between the two communities, which has been adopted by the Security Council of the UN and by the Council of the EU, is the July 8 agreement, according to which the two leaders have to create working groups and simultaneously technical committees in order to start work to bridge the gap between the two sides,`` the President said.

    He added that ``then the leaders have to sit again to come to an overall agreement on these several crucial aspects of the Cyprus problem.``

    ``Under the text of the July 8 agreement, there are two signatures. The one is the signature of the previous President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Papadopoulos, and the other is the signature of Mr. Talat, my old friend and co-negotiator for the future, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. I say, and this is my answer to Mr. Erdogan, with all due respect, that I am going to honour the signature of Mr. Papadopoulos and I hope that my good friend Mr. Talat is going to honour his own signature under the text. This is my expectation. Let us see how he is going to behave after one week and then we shall speak,`` President Christofias said.

    He noted that his own commitment was to do his ``utmost in order to put an end to this deadlock and to move forward for a solution which is going to reunify the island.``

    ``I hope that we both are going to speak the well-known Cypriot language, without any pressure from outside. This is my will, this is my promise,`` he said.


    UN spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is planning to send soon Under-Secretary-General Lyn Pascoe to lead an assessment mission to the region.

    ``Discussions are going on with the parties on the dates and the details of the mission,`` said the spokesperson responding to a question regarding the meeting between Ban Ki-moon and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Senegal on the sidelines of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

    ``The mission will assess the situation and consider next steps,`` UN spokesperson added. According to diplomatic sources possible dates for the mission is for Nicosia 2-4 April, 4-5 April for Athens and 5-6 in Ankara.

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