|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-03-21
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 President: Coming weeks to be decisive for Cyprus issueThe coming weeks will be ``decisive`` for the Cyprus problem and ``crucial decisions will have to be taken,`` President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said on Wednesday, pointing out that reaching a bizonal bicommunal federation was the way to achieve the reunification of Cyprus.
He also said that UN-led talks between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, and UN resolutions, were the Greek Cypriot side`s shield, and assured that the Greek Cypriot side was ready to address any eventuality.
In his opening remarks at a press conference on the Cyprus issue, President Christofias referred to the UN Secretary General`s report on the course of talks to solve the Cyprus problem, which was given to publicity earlier this week, noting that the report ``reaffirms that the situation at the talks is not good.``
``We have already expressed our readiness to continue efforts. What is necessary is for the Turkish Cypriot side to cooperate for a solution,`` he said.
Referring to the issue of convening an international conference on the international aspects of the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said that the Greek Cypriot side`s position was that such a meeting should be attended by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the guarantor powers, namely the UK, Greece and Turkey, the Republic of Cyprus, and the two communities on the island.
President Christofias assured that the Greek Cypriot side would not agree to an international conference with a ``broader participation`` or without prior agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus issue.
The President furthermore outlined the course of talks regarding specific aspects of the Cyprus problem, and noted that ``the painful compromise of a bicommunal bizonal federation is the only option that could lead to the termination of the occupation and the reunification of Cyprus, and prevent permanent partition.``
President Christofias said that ``we have struggled and achieved the active involvement and interest of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council`` and that the Greek Cypriot side`s commitment to the basis of the solution has won the steadfast support of the EU and of the international community in general.
``We have strengthened our position internationally. In an especially competitive and unstable international environment, we have managed to signed agreements delineating Cyprus` exclusive economic zone and proceed with procedures for exploratory drilling`` for hydrocarbons, he said, adding that in the meantime ``we have to tackle the increasing influence and threats of Turkey.``
President Christofias pointed out that it would be detrimental to abandon the current process and seek other ways to solve the Cyprus problem outside the UN framework.
He referred to the events and talks that have led to the agreement to pursue a bizonal bicommunal federation as the solution to the Cyprus problem, noting that ``the federation will solve the internal aspects concerning the relationship between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriots.``
``One must not forget that the Cyprus problem is an international problem of foreign invasion and occupation. The painful compromise of a bicommunal bizonal federation was accepted, not because there was any ignorance as to the substance of the Cyprus problem or a naive downgrading of the Cyprus problem to a bicommunal issue. On the contrary, the acceptance of the federation was made exactly because there was full awareness of the consequences of the coup and the invasion and occupation, and the need to create the preconditions to terminate the occupation and lift the division,`` he said.
President Christofias explained what a federation would imply, namely that the two communities would each be responsible for the administration of a respective zone, and would participate in a central administration, while their relationship would be one of political equality.
Regarding the UN-led direct talks for a solution, which resumed between himself and the previous leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mehmet Ali Talat, President Christofias said points agreed on with Talat have now come under question by the current Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu.
President Christofias said that after efforts made by the Greek Cypriot side, two crossing points were opened along the ceasefire line.
On the issue of governance, the President said the aim was to achieve the replacement of the proposed ``presidential council``, which would be confusing, with a presidential system, a point agreed on with Talat but dismissed now by Eroglu.
Regarding the issue of property, he said the Greek Cypriot side`s position was to link it with the issue of territory, which the UN agreed to, noting that the problem now was the Turkish Cypriot side`s interpretation of bizonality.
On the issue of the economy, he said it has been agreed that 5% of total federal revenue would be allocated to the Turkish Cypriot federal unit for development purposes and 1% to the regions to be returned under Greek Cypriot administration. The President pointed out that this would apply for a transitory period only.
Regarding the issue of citizenship, President Christofias said an arrangement has been reached for a ratio of four Cypriots to one Turkish citizen, which would regulate the influx of Turks even if Turkey joined the EU.
President Christofias also referred to the situation at the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, saying that there was a negative image and that the members, namely representatives of parliamentary parties, should realise ``the seriousness of the situation and the adverse environment in which we are carrying out our struggle, and shield our side with at least the minimum trust and good faith.``
``As President of the Republic, I fully assume my responsibilities. However, it is obvious that building unity demands mutual respect and appreciation, and of course common positions. This is everyone`s business, not only the President`s,`` he said.
Commenting on positions that a negotiator other than the President of the Republic should be appointed to handle the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said the President of the Republic, elected directly by the people, is the legitimate negotiator.
He also referred to remarks that the EU factor was not exploited to its full potential in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and assured that ``we are doing everything possible at every opportunity towards this end.``
 UK: Cyprus has not rejected federationBritish Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Howell has said that the British government is not aware of any occasion where the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has rejected the concept of a bizonal bicommunal solution, since this was agreed.
He said that the bizonal, bicommunal solution to the Cyprus problem was agreed within the 12 February 1977 high level agreement between the then leaders of the two communities, under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.
The statement is included in a written answer to Lord Maginis, who had asked on how many occasions the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has since 1974 rejected a bizonal, bicommunal solution to the Cyprus problem.
Ultimately, Lord Howell added, it is for the Cypriot people to decide whether to accept the terms of the settlement that the leaders agree within the bizonal, bicommunal framework.
 EPP condemns occupation regimeEuropean People’s Party President Wilfried Martens has condemned the behavior of the illegal regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus to prohibit Karpasia Bishop Christoforos from crossing to the northern occupied areas and visit the Church of Ayios Mamas.
According to a press release, issued by the Press Office of EPP President, Martens, after he had been briefed by DISY President Nicos Anastasiades on the incident, stated that “this unacceptable behavior of the occupying authorities, which I condemn, constitutes an offence to the freedom of religion and to human rights”.
This behavior, Martens said, offers the worst kind of assistance to the ongoing negotiating process between the leaders of the two communities, aimed at a comprehensive and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem.
Martens welcomed the continuous efforts by Nicos Anastasiades for a solution to the Cyprus problem. “Only a permanent, viable and comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem can lead to the full restoration of the freedom of religion and of human rights in Cyprus”, he concluded.
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