December 10, 2016

Press Conference by President Anastasiades at the UN Headquarters-Q and A

Question: Thanks a lot. I’m sure the journalists here are grateful for doing this briefing. I wanted to ask you, I was on a call with the International Monetary Fund this morning and the issue of Cyprus, as you might imagine came up. And what came up, is this dispute between yourself and the Central Bank Head and they seem to express a desire, that the Executive and the Central Bank find a way to work this out, so I wanted to know from your side what you think and also on your speech, too many people that cover this closer than I do, seem more positive than things have been in the past and so the question that rises is whether there is some kind of coordination with the Turkish side on this, in the sense, not just the Famagusta proposal but the whole tone. How you respond to that? Thanks.

President: First as regards to the Governor of the Central Bank, whenever I’m abroad I’m not commenting whatever is happening at home. What I would like to say is that I fully respect the constitution of my country, but as well as, all the rules and regulations of the euro system and especially the rules and the regulations of the European Central Bank.

As regards now the Cyprus question, we are trying very hard to cooperate, to see how to open new avenues which might lead us to a successful end. As I have already mentioned during my speech at the General Assembly and now, during my introductory statement, I have stated that I am decisive and I have a vision to see that my country is going to be reunited to the best interest of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, for all the inhabitants of the island. As we are always looking after the Greek Cypriots, at the same time, we are not ignoring the rights or the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots. Thank you very much.

Question: Would you like Mr. President, to say a few things more about your proposal on Varosha. A proposal that goes around for many years and has never succeeded to go forward. Why this time you think is so essential for the proposal to be accepted and proceed?

President: Because for a long time now, there is no progress and the people’s patience has exhausted. Most of the people don’t believe there might be a glance of hope. That’s why I’m saying, and bearing in mind what have happened during the Presidential elections of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the so-called elections for the illegal assembly of the occupied areas. The Cyprus question was out of the agenda. So, what is needed now is a new dynamic, or a shock treatment so to move everybody and give a message, that this time we mean business. We are not going to repeat ourselves, we are not going to enter in a dialogue for the dialogue, for the sake of the dialogue, and we are not going to get into a game blame, which is not my intention and I would expect that my compatriots, they are not going to behave like that. Thank you.

Question:  You’ve proposed the return of Famagusta to its original inhabitants. Approximately when can we expect if this happens? Do you have any timing for that?

President: If it was upon me, I might say tomorrow, but we are in the process of negotiating. We are trying very hard to convey the message that it is something important, and it is not one proposal just for Varosha. It is a win-win proposal. It’s going to help all the Cypriots to be benefitted out of what we are proposing.

Question: Mr. President, following up on the Famagusta proposal which I think is quite extraordinary in itself, what other confidence building measures you presently have to make as next steps on the road with the Turkish Cypriots?

President: Famagusta port to be opened under the auspices of the European Union, Turkey to open airports and ports to the ships and airplanes bearing the flag of Cyprus whilst Cyprus would lift any objections or veto with regards the chapters which are under negotiations for the accession process of Turkey.

Question: Regarding the natural gas, there were some debates about it before. Now what is your position regarding the natural gas? Is there going to be a settlement regarding the people of Cyprus after a possible unification? I mean if natural gas in on the table of the negotiations?

President: It’s not on the table of the negotiations. Definitely the natural wealth is belonging to the state and it will benefit all the inhabitants of Cyprus, of course after the solution. But before the solution, during the negotiations is not one of the issues which might be under negotiation. It’s going without saying that for the moment the natural resources are belonging to a sovereign state, all the citizens. All the nationals of this state could share the benefits out of the exploration and trade of natural gas.

Question: During your meetings with the Chinese and the Russian Foreign Ministers, and also the expectations for tomorrow’s meeting with Vice President Biden. Do you detect support from the big powers on your efforts?

President: They were not just good listeners. They are trying to do something. Let me stop or allow me to keep my mouth shut. We are trying, all, in order to succeed the goal, the new dynamic and the new impetus we are looking for the negotiations. Therefore, any further comment is not going to be as helpful as we are looking for.

Question: So you talked about a shock doctrine, a new radical process about this. How did you evaluate Turkey’s approach and Turkish Cypriot side community approach to your shock doctrine?

President: To have a shock therapy, you need all the parties involved. Therefore, this is why we are trying to convince either our compatriots or Turkey. That the brave movement, from all of us, it will give what we are looking for: the new dynamic, the new impetus, for inauguration of the new round of talks. Whilst at the same time of course what is needed is, as I have already said, well prepared negotiations before the negotiations, to prepare ourselves and to agree on certain items. A joint statement for example for the framework and the basis on which we shall negotiate. So I’m expecting from all, that this very time we are all ready to get seriously involved in a dialogue for peace and prosperity of the people of Cyprus, and not only. Our neighbors as well, Turkey as well.

Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.