November 24, 2017

Statement by H.E. Ioannis Kasoulides,Foreign Minister of Cyprus at the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in New York

I would like, at the outset to express our gratitude to the Government of South Africa for the exemplary way in which it has been carrying out its duties as chairman of the movement and its total dedication in promoting the noble ideals and goals of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

The dramatic developments of this year, starting with the terrorist attacks in the United States, the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, the conflicts in the Balkans, Africa and everywhere else have proven once again that the Non-Aligned Movement remains a very important actor in the international arena and a moral voice for the weak and the very poor in line with its founding ideas. We unreservedly condemn the barbaric acts and we join the Members of the Movement in supporting the latest efforts for international action against terrorism, especially with the implementation of SC resolution 1373.

The Movement also plays a pivotal role on the ongoing efforts for revitalizing the role of the General Assembly, the organ with the equal participation  of all Member States, its restructuring of the role of the Security Council and the major effort for the revamping of the structure and effectiveness of the peacekeeping operations and conflict prevention mechanism that originated with the Brahimi report.

We remain deeply concerned about the plea of the least developed countries, especially in Africa, and the grave humanitarian crisis they are facing and fully support the efforts for the promotion of international co-operation for development and eradication of poverty and assistance to overcome the vulnerability to communicable diseases. We also believe that the G8’s Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor debt initiative is an initiative in the right direction.

On Middle East, since the beginning of the recent violent events that have taken place in the Middle East, the Government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus have expressed sorrow and concern over the escalation of violence and the loss of so many lives. The current tragic situation aptly demonstrates the explosive consequences of the long delay  in bringing about a solution to the Palestinian problem with the implementation of the relevant UN resolutions. We call again for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 336 as the only way for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement. We also call for the implementation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

I am sure that all members of the Non-aligned are aware of the latest developments on Cyprus and especially the lack of progress for a solution of the Cyprus problem due to the Turkish negative stand. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Government of Cyprus has spared no efforts in the search of a comprehensive solution, within the parameters established by the security council resolutions, a solution that will allow the reunification of our country and our people, will safeguard the human rights of all its citizens and terminate the foreign occupation of our territory, we are faced again with the same familiar scenario of intransigence and obstinacy. The Turkish side refused even to resume negotiations, rejecting the latest invitation of the Secretary General, a development that the S-G characterized as “regrettable” and the Security Council in its 26 September statement as an “unjustified decision” insisting that “progress can only be made at the negotiating table” thus, rejecting the attempt by the Turkish side to place preconditions before returning to the negotiations.

As we strive to construct a new international order based on the rule of law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the international community must not tolerate any longer such behaviour, which only reinforces the culture of impunity and renders the solution of the Cyprus problem more difficult. I would be remiss if I do not express once again the gratitude of the people of Cyprus for the solidarity and steadfast support of the Movement, in our long struggle to protect our sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. We once again depend on your solidarity to face the new challenges and difficult days ahead.

I want to assure that we remain at the disposal of the Secretary General for a solution based on UN resolutions and international law. We appeal to the Turkish side to seize the moment in order to reach a comprehensive settlement. Such a settlement will be based on Security Council resolutions which call for a bi-zonal, bi-communal Federal Republic of Cyprus, with a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality, comprising two politically equal communities as described by Security Council resolution 750 of 1992. The Turkish side must realize that a solution must be mutually acceptable based on international law and must not insist on imposing its will and on a solution based on faits accomplis. They should abandon their position for the creation of two separate states on Cyprus and their insistence on the acceptance of the so-called realities created as result of the use of force against the Republic of Cyprus. The acceptance of the so-called realities would create a very dangerous precedent in international affairs, striking at the very heart of the cherished principles of state sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to reiterate once again that Cyprus, which at the moment is negotiating the final stages of its accession into the European Union, has no intention to forfeit its traditional bonds with the Non-aligned  Movement. On the contrary, it is our ambition, in our capacity as a member of the European Family to be one of the bridges  between the non-aligned countries and the member states of the European Union, thus enhancing mutual cooperation and understanding.

Thank you Mr. Chairman