October 20, 2017

Address by the President of Cyprus Mr. Glafcos Clerides to the 54th Session of the UN General Assembly

Mr. President,

I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on your election as President of the 54th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I have no doubt that your long experience and proven diplomatic skills will guide the work of the Session to a successful conclusion.

Moreover, we interpret your election as a well deserved recognition of your country, Namibia, for which the Cypriot people entertain feelings of admiration and friendship.

I would also like to take the opportunity to express my appreciation to your distinguished predecessor, Minister Opertti of Uruguay, for the determined leadership with which he steered the work of the 53rd Session.

Cyprus joins other states in extending a warm welcome to the new members of the United Nations, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru and the Kingdom of Tonga.
Mr. President,

As we are rapidly approaching the dawn of the new millennium, we have an obligation to reaffirm our commitment to this truly global Organization and to the ideas that have made the United Nations the hope of mankind for a world governed by peace, justice and the rule of law.

And yet, the challenges that we face seem at times insurmountable. Our world is characterized by a large array of old and constantly emerging new problems. Problems such as violent international conflicts and internal strife.

Moreover, the United Nations have to respond to multi-faceted challenges such as the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, the control of epidemics and natural disasters and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Organization’s efforts in these areas have been considerable and must not be underestimated .

I take this opportunity to reaffirm my Government’s strong commitment to the United Nations and our support for the ongoing efforts for its reform, so that it will be able to successfully meet the considerable challenges that lie ahead.
Mr. President,

Cyprus will work toward the successful conclusion of the Millennium Assembly. We look forward to an interactive summit. We anticipate an in-depth and result-oriented discussion, with the participation of civil society, during the work of the many special sessions on various facets of the Organization’s work.

Mr. President,

One of the major issues of concern to all humanity is disarmament. I would like to reaffirm our support for these efforts including, inter alia, a strengthened NPT review process and the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In the field of human rights the United Nations plays a very special role, not only in developing and enhancing the regime of human rights instruments, but also in the prevention of possible violations and the constantly expanding humanitarian relief efforts.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, we reaffirm our commitment to the cause of human rights and the promotion of humanitarian law. Cyprus has fully supported the adoption of the Statute of a Permanent International Criminal Court.
Mr. President,

Cyprus follows the situation in the Middle East with intense interest. We rejoice at the winds of hope that have recently appeared in the efforts at finally achieving peace in this long-tormented area and welcome the recent Israeli – Palestinian Agreement.

Cyprus as a neighboring state with close relations to the parties involved in the Middle East, reiterates its support for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement based on the relevant United Nations Resolutions and the implementation of the Peace Accords.

The recent tragedy that has unfolded in Kosovo has demonstrated the fragility of peace in the heart of Europe and the imperative need to address a new array of problems, that have the potential to destabilize an entire region.

The International Community, as well as the parties involved, have an obligation to create the conditions for reconciliation, so that what has transpired in Kosovo and Yugoslavia in general, will never be allowed to take place again.

Cyprus fully supports Security Council Resolution 1244 and calls for the full respect of the human rights of all Kosovars, irrespective of their origin, as well as the sovereignty of all states in the region. My Government also welcomes the initiative of the European Union, which led to the adoption of the Stability Pact last June, as an important initiative that will contribute considerably to the economic and political stabilization of South Eastern Europe and help its peoples construct a new future.

Cyprus welcomes the several United Nations initiatives and recommendations stemming from the follow up to the Report of the Secretary-General concerning Africa. The international community should redouble its efforts at assisting the countries of Africa to overcome civil strife and wars, to eradicate poverty, to combat successfully sickness, to win the fight against drugs trafficking, to obtain sustainable development and to face the challenges of the future.
Mr. President,

The recent devastating earthquake that struck Turkey has once more demonstrated the frailty of human beings before nature’s incredible power of destruction. I take this opportunity to reiterate to the Turkish people our sympathy for the enormous losses suffered and to urge the international community to lend a helping hand for the reconstruction of the devastated areas. Despite the political problems that exist between our respective states the magnitude of the suffering of the Turkish people has deeply moved the people of Cyprus.

I wish to congratulate all those countries which rushed to save Turkish lives and in particular Greece, which despite its many differences and problems with Turkey, was one of the first countries to send its teams to work side by side with Turkish teams to rescue the Turkish people who were buried alive under the ruins of the earthquake.

I want also to congratulate Turkey for reciprocating in the same manner after the subsequent earthquake in Greece and I wish to salute the new spirit of friendship which has started to emerge between the two countries.

This year, Mr. President, marks a quarter of a century since the Turkish invasion and unlawful occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. I could today, from this podium, point an accusing finger against Turkey and talk at length about the ethnic cleansing it practiced against the Greek Cypriots, which resulted to 180,000 Greek Cypriots to be refugees in their own country. I could bring up the drama of the relatives of the 1,600 missing Greek Cypriots since the invasion of Cyprus by Turkish Forces in 1974. I could point out the many continuing violations of the human rights of the Greek Cypriots by citing decisions of the European Court and Reports of the European Commission of Human Rights holding Turkey responsible for such violations.

Today, Mr. President, I will abstain from doing so, because I prefer to look to the future and not to dwell the past.
Mr. President,

We are currently waiting for the United Nations Secretary-General to issue the invitations to both sides to take part in negotiations, under the auspices of the United Nations, in the most ambitious initiative ever undertaken, to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

This initiative enjoys the active support of the international community and particularly the Group of the 8 most industrialized countries, the Security Council, the European Union and the Non-Aligned Movement.

We are well aware that currently the international community, and especially those states which are in a position to influence the foreign policy of the Turkish Government, are working methodically to persuade Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Denktash, to participate in talks without any preconditions.

Namely, not to insist on the recognition of the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and not to demand that negotiations be conducted between two states, instead of two communities, as envisaged in the Security Council Resolutions.

Regrettably, on 16 September the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Ecevit, by a public statement not only insisted on the two preconditions I have just referred to, but added further that “the economic embargo against the Turkish Cypriots must be lifted”.

The Prime Minister of Turkey knows that the so-called embargo is a result of a decision of the European Court, to the effect that certificates of origin and/or quality issued by the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” are not accepted by the European Union, because the so-called state is not recognized.

The Prime Minister of Turkey should also be aware that there is a category of reciprocal measures that need to be discussed and resolved, commensurate with the progress made towards a solution. The question of the so-called embargo and on what conditions it can be lifted in view of the European Court’s decision, falls in that category.

I have already stated publicly, but also to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and to the Heads of State or Government of the Five Permanent Members of the Security Council, that we are ready to respond positively to the invitation of the Secretary-General to attend the talks and to negotiate its solution within the parameters established by the international community through Security Council Resolutions.

The parameters so established provide that Cyprus must be a bi-communal, bi-zonal Federal Republic, with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship and that the settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession.

My vision for the solution of the Cyprus problem within these parameters requires a partnership of the two communities that would constitutionally provide for a maximum degree of internal self-administration to the two constituent cantons, provinces or states. Adhering to the principle of the equal political status of the constituent parts, it must provide them with the same rights, powers and functions regarding their respective separate internal self-administration. The constitution must also provide effective participation of the constituent parts in the Federal Government. It must also secure all fundamental human rights and freedoms for the citizens of the Federation.

Such federation, becoming a member of the European Union will thrive at home and abroad, enjoying genuine peace, stability and security based on international law and legality. It will be supervised by an international force authorized by the Security Council, under terms and conditions so defined, as to give the international force the right to intervene, if it finds that the one community by unlawful acts puts in danger the safety of the other community or attempts to destroy the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Federal State or the agreements reached.
Mr. President,

I have repeatedly stated that both communities must learn from the mistakes of the past and must work hard for the creation of a common and bright future for all, instead of clinging to attitudes which brought about the tragedy in the island.

It is, therefore, imperative that we find a just, workable and viable solution, which will safeguard the human rights of every citizen and will heal the wounds of the past, bringing at the same time a sense of security to both communities by providing full disarmament under international supervision.

Our side will be approaching the negotiations on the Cyprus problem with courage and flexibility.

This is due to the fact that we recognize that the solution of the problem is in the interest of all Cypriots, but also because the solution of the Cyprus problem will contribute to the overall aim of the international community for the prevalence of permanent peace, stability and security in our region.
Mr. President,

I regret that Mr. Denktash is reported to refuse to respond positively to any invitation to negotiate with me as Representative of the Greek Cypriot community, on the pretext that I am also the President of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus.

Time and time again I have explained to him that I sit in the talks not as the President of the recognized Republic of Cyprus, but as the Representative of the Greek Cypriot community, because the Security Council resolutions call upon the two communities to negotiate and not the State of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community.

It also saddens me when he attempts to set aside the parameters for the solution of the Cyprus problem, set by the international community and by the high-level agreements which he made before the Secretary-General of the United Nations twice, for a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. He attempts now to set new parameters for the solution based on two separate sovereign states and to impose their acceptance by refusing to come to the negotiating table unless his conditions are accepted.

In support for his precondition he advances the argument that the term «equal political status», referred to in United Nations resolutions must be interpreted to mean that his break-away «Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus» must be recognized, since the Republic of Cyprus is internationally recognized, in order that the two negotiators have an equal status. He forgets that the Security Council by its resolution deplored the action of the Turkish side to declare a separate state and asked all its members not to recognize it, a request with which all complied, with the exception of Turkey, the occupying power.
Mr. President,

The parameters, for the solution of the Cyprus problem are already in place. They are included in the relevant resolutions of the United Nations. What is required is the political will of the two sides. I can assure you that the Greek Cypriot side stands ready to negotiate in good faith so that a bi-communal, bi-zonal Federal Republic of Cyprus will finally become a reality.

I join my voice with those of the G8, the Security Council and the European Union in asking Mr. Denktash to come to the negotiating table without preconditions. I honestly believe that within the parameters of the Security Council Resolutions we can find a solution which will safeguard the legitimate interests of both communities and will bring peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

I wish also to repeat our invitation to the Turkish Cypriot community to join forces with us in our EU accession course. Our accession course, which is the greatest achievement since the establishment of the Cyprus Republic, is continuing with success.

The accession of Cyprus to the European Union will benefit both communities equally.
Mr. President,

The Cyprus problem has often been described as complicated and intractable. I do not share this view. The Cyprus problem can and will be solved if the international community demands with the necessary determination its solution, within the parameters it has set.
Distinguished Delegates,

In the efforts for its solution we, as a small State, member of the United Nations, rely on the support of the international community and the United Nations. We look upon its Charter as a beacon of justice, and on the United Nations as the hope for a better future.
Thank you Mr. President.