|Sunday, 25 February 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-09-24
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PRESIDENT CHRISTOFIAS - UN GENERAL ASSEMBLYPresident of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias expressed hope on Thursday that during the second round of negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem there would be a reconsideration of Turkish positions, so that a settlement could be found the soonest possible, adding that he would not present to the people a solution originating from outside or accept arbitration and exercise of pressure through artificial timetables.
In a statement at the General Debate of the 64th Session of the General Assembly of the UN, in New York, President Christofias said the key to a settlement is Turkey and that it is not enough for the Turkish leadership to publicly state that it supports the negotiating process but Turkey should contribute in a practical way to a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as defined in the relevant Security Council resolutions.
President Christofias referred to the history of the Cyprus problem and the plethora of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Cyprus, noting that, ``since its independence, the Republic of Cyprus has relied heavily on the principles of the UN in maintaining its independence, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.``
He noted that shortly after his election in office, he undertook the initiative to bring the stalemate to an end, resulting in the commencement of direct negotiations with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
``We agreed that the process would be in the hands of the Cypriots without arbitration and artificial timetables. Some progress has been achieved in the negotiations but not such as to make us confident that we are close to a final solution to the Cyprus problem,`` he pointed out.
He added that ``our goal is the restoration of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity of the Republic of Cyprus, the common homeland of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,`` and that ``it is also our goal to restore the human rights and basic freedoms of all citizens of the Republic of Cyprus regardless of their ethnic background.``
``We are committed to the evolution of the unitary state into a federal state consisting of two largely autonomous regions. One region will be administered by the Greek Cypriot community and the other by the Turkish Cypriot community,`` he said, adding that ``the United Federal Republic of Cyprus must safeguard the unity of the state and its institutions, as well as of the economy and the people.``
President Christofias noted that, ``despite our common efforts, the Turkish Cypriot side, supported by Turkey, continues to present positions and proposals which lead us outside the framework of the UN resolutions on Cyprus with regard to the termination of military occupation, the illegal possession of properties and the presence of settlers.``
``Possible acceptance of these positions would lead to an acceptance of many of the consequences of the occupation and to violations of international Conventions on human rights, basic freedoms and the principles on which federations are built. It is clear that such a solution would be neither viable, nor functional, and would not ensure the continuing unity of the state and the country,`` he added.
President Christofias said ``we sincerely hope that during the second round of negotiations, which has just started, there will be a reconsideration of Turkish positions, so that we can, as soon as possible, reach an agreed solution which we can then present to the people in separate simultaneous referenda.``
``This solution must be by the Cypriots, for the Cypriots. It is evident that we will not present the people with a solution originating from outside and neither can we accept arbitration and exercise of pressure through artificial timetables. These preconditions were agreed with the Secretary General under whose auspices the negotiations are taking place,`` he said and thanked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for his good offices mission and for the role of the UN as a facilitator in the negotiating process.
President Christofias pointed out that Turkey is a key player for the solution of the Cyprus problem and that ``the success of our efforts for a solution of the problem depends on Turkey`s political will and the policies it implements.``
``It is not enough for the Turkish leadership to publicly state that it supports the negotiating process. Turkey should contribute in a practical way to a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as defined in the relevant Security Council resolutions. Instead Turkey pursues a confederal solution,`` he noted.
He said a good will measure on the part of Turkey would have been the implementation of Security Council resolution 550 of 1984 which stipulates the transfer of the occupied ghost-town of Varoshia to the administration of the UN and the return of its legal inhabitants to their homes and properties, and in addition Turkey should proceed with the normalisation of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus, as well as with its recognition as stipulated by the decisions of the EU.
President Christofias pointed out that it is a paradox for a country that is a member of the Security Council not to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the UN, the EU and of all international organizations, for a member of the Security Council to maintain occupation troops for 35 years on the territory of another UN member state and a member state of the EU, and to undermine the unity and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.
``Cyprus has never sought nor wishes to have hostile relations with its neighbour, Turkey, but it is our responsibility to defend the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state,`` he said.
He also expressed his ``readiness to initiate dialogue with the Turkish leadership, in parallel to our negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot leader, to share ideas about the future, which would greatly enhance the chances of a positive outcome to the negotiations.``
Referring to Turkey`s EU accession course, President Christofias said Cyprus has consistently supported this course, ``in the belief that the whole adaptation process and Turkey`s eventual membership would help our neighbours and would be beneficial for our region and us.``
``However, this support is not unconditional. Turkey should fulfill its obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus as well as towards the EU,`` he said.
Furthermore, he assured that ``our Turkish Cypriot compatriots are equal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, and that I personally will strive consistently for their rights and for finding their rightful place in all organs of the state,`` adding however that ``the rights of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots cannot be implemented at the expense of the rights of the bigger community, which is the Greek Cypriot community.``
``There must be mutual respect. I want to assure you that I will spare no effort in order to achieve a balanced and just solution which would restore the rights of the people as a whole,`` he said, adding that lasting peace ``will be beneficial for the people of Cyprus, of Turkey and for the peoples of our region as a whole.``
``Real political leaders are not the ones who think of the next election but of the next generation. We have the responsibility to work together to achieve a lasting peace in our region,`` he pointed out.
 CYPRUS AIRWAYS - CHECK-INThe web check-in service of Cyprus Airways, introduced at local airports, is being extended to European airports, a Cyprus Airways press release said here Thursday.
Every Cyprus Airways passenger can choose, from the comfort of his home, instead of opting to wait in line at the airport, to check in and print the boarding pass for 13 European airports that Cyprus Airways flies from.
Apart from Larnaca and Paphos International Airports, web check-in can be carried out for flights departing from Londons Heathrow and Stansted airports as well as Birmingham, Athens, Salonica, Rhodes, Heraclion, Amsterdam, Sophia, Moscow and Zurich airports.
At the same time, work is underway to extend the service to more airports with the relevant infrastructure.
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