November 24, 2017

Introductory Statement by President Christofias at UN Press Conference

I welcome all of you to this press conference. I will make a brief introductory statement and then I will be happy to take your questions.

The 67th General Assembly of the United Nations is taking place at a time of great challenges for humanity and subsequently for international institutions, primarily for the United Nations. The need for collective action is imperative now, perhaps more so than ever before. At the same time, the situation worldwide underlines the need to revitalize the values and principles upon which this Organization is based: respect for international law, human rights and freedoms, abolition of inequalities, sovereign equality of states and the right of the people to define their own destiny.

My meeting with the Secretary General was a farewell one as this is the last time I participate to the General Assembly of the United Nations as President of Cyprus. I had the opportunity to express my gratitude to the Secretary General for the time and effort he devoted to Cyprus. I also expressed my disappointment for the current impasse due to the lack of cooperation on behalf of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side and their unwillingness to continue the negotiations. Unfortunately Mr. Eroglou refuses to reaffirm the convergences we achieved with Mr. Talat and puts forward positions that are not compatible with the agreed basis of a bizonal bicommunal federation and are in line with his own vision of two separate states. ,My sincere hope is that negotiations will restart soon. I am absolutely ready any time before the end of my term to continue negotiations with the other side under the auspices of the Secretary General of the United Nations for an overall solution based on UN Resolutions, providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as defined in the relevant UN Resolutions. One State with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality.

Of course, I raised with the Secretary General and the P5  Ambassadors, as well as in my speech before the General Assembly, the unacceptable threats of Turkey against Cyprus sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone. I am satisfied and grateful of their support and the shield of protection they provide to Cyprus on the basis of international law.

Our societies face the threat of the world economic crisis. It is important that we all understand that the burden of this crisis cannot and must not be put on the shoulders of ordinary people. Most importantly the crisis cannot be overcome without energetic policies that will foster development and the creation of jobs.

Our world is also being faced with many regional conflicts. The situation in Syria is escalating thus deepening the concerns for the wider region.

I had the opportunity to discuss the above during my meetings in the framework of the 67th General Assembly, with the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the President of the General Assembly Mr. Jeremic, the President of Serbia Mr. Nikolic, the President of the Palestinian Authority Mr. Abbas, the Foreign Minister of Greece Mr. Avraamopoulos and the Foreign Minister of Russia Mr. Lavrov, the Joint Representative for Syria Mr. Brahimi and with the Ambassadors of the Permanent Members of the Security Council. In the afternoon I will see also the President of Latvia and the Prime Minister of Lebanon. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Markouli also had a series of meetings during our stay in New York.

With regard to Syria, I sincerely hope that for the sake of all concerned the Joint Representative Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi will succeed in his mission. I assured Mr. Brahimi, that Cyprus is on his side and stands ready to assist him in any way he might deem appropriate.

As you know Cyprus currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Tonight we are organising a recital to mark the Cyprus Presidency and honour the 52nd anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Cyprus. I think that the motto “Towards a better Europe” that we have given to the Cyprus Presidency, encloses an ecumenical vision which is imperative at our times: a better and more humanitarian world.

Thank you.