November 25, 2017

Press Conference by President Anastasiades at the UN Headquarters – Q&A

UN Headquarters – September 26, 2014 

Question:  I have a bit of a déjà vu feeling, because I remember last negotiations with Turkey and Greece and northern Cyprus many, many years ago when I believe you were very close and it was then blocked. Are you any closer this time? Do you foresee a successful negotiation that would reunite the north?

President: Nobody could be optimistic or pessimistic. Everything will depend on the goodwill and the genuine and sincere will of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey and if they are ready too and they mean business as they state many times, then I’m sure that we might have a solution the soonest possible. The most important is to be abided to what we have agreed, and to be constructive in those core issues where they have to take into consideration the concerns of the Greek Cypriots, whilst too, ourselves of course, we have to take into consideration the concerns of our compatriots.

Question: And may I just follow up one second. Can you name some of the confidence building measures you think we’ll help?

President: Yes, it is the return of the ghost city of Famagusta for example. At the same time, the operation of the port of Famagusta in favor of our compatriots In order to export goods to Europe, under always the observation and presence of the European Union. There are a lot more but the time is limited.

Question: In light of Turkey’s constant criticism and condemnation of Israel, for, what it claims to be illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the settlements, do you think that Turkey should follow its own advice with respect to northern Cyprus, in other words, do you regard Turkey as engaging in illegal occupation of northern Cyprus and that the immigrants of Turkey to northern Cyprus, settlers in sort of analogue in sort of what Turkey is claiming about Israel?

President: It seems that there are two standards to international law or its interpretation, giving the chance to some to consider that some others are violating the international law, whilst at the same time they, themselves, they are doing the same. So the only I have to commend is that, if they mean what they are saying about the Palestinians what they have to do is just to give the example first and above all, themselves.

Question: Thanks for doing the briefing. I want to ask about hydrocarbons. It’s been said now for more than a year that this issue, and the discovering and development of hydrocarbons will, somehow, play a role and bring the two sides together. Has there been any positive development on that?

President: In my view, the hydrocarbons, is one of the most interesting incentives of the stakeholders on the Cyprus question to help in finding a solution. The hydrocarbons are belonging to the Cyprus Republic and the people of the Republic of Cyprus is consisted of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, working towards finding a solution and if shall be successful, that means all the Cypriots are going to be benefited out of it but as well as Turkey, as well as our neighborhood, as well as some other interested parties like Europe.

Question: So what’s the next step?

President: What I’m saying is that it’s an incentive. It’s upon the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to realize that it is to the best interest of everyone to see that the country is reunited, that a solution is the best way to get the advantage of this wealth.

Question: I have two questions. The first one is about European Union and Turkey as a candidate member for a non-permanent member of the Security Council and the second question is whether you think that the Americans will press towards the Famagusta case?

President: It’s not a decision which is going to be taken by the European Council, if there is such an issue. It is not a matter of the European Union to decide what the individual member states will do as regards as non-permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations. Therefore, I don’t think that they will give an order, they will call us to decide what we have to do collectively.

Question: Do you think the United States will press Turkey towards the Famagusta CBM?

President: They have done so in the past and I’m sure they will continue to do so and I’m expecting that if there is progress in the dialogue ahead, I’m sure that the confidence building measures and especially Famagusta is one of those steps which will give a new impetus to the whole procedure.

Question: Mr. President, I will go back to the question on Turkey’s candidacy to the Security Council. A country like Turkey that occupies a member state of the European Union that has all these problems in the neighborhood and violates for many years the decisions of the Security Council, is it moral to be a member of the Security Council?

President: I could not answer or give an answer on behalf of all those who might vote for Turkey. The question should be very well addressed to all those who might have the intention to vote, not for those who are objecting due to the reasons you have mentioned.

Question: Mr. President, in an hour you are going to meet with the Vice President of the United States Mr. Biden. He is a friend of yours as I understand. I wanted to know if you can tell us what you are planning to say to him about Cyprus and the problem of Cyprus.

President: It’s not going to be a secret, I mean what you are asking is the substantial support by the United States in our effort and to exercise all their influence on the occupying forces, I mean Turkey, in order to give a boost to the negotiating process but not only as regards the procedure but as regards as well as the essence of the problem. And I think the joint declaration is giving the parameters within which we have to work in order to find a solution. At the same time the acquis is guidance and the principles and values of the European Union for a member state country which is divided, I think it will be the best of guidance in order to protect the human rights of all lawful citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, either these are Greek or Turkish Cypriots or from any other European country.

Thankyou.