January 27, 2023

Right of Reply by Foreign Minister Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides to the 52nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. President,

In exercising my right to reply to the speech of H.E. the Foreign Minister of Turkey, I would like to state the following:

(a) My Turkish colleague spoke about the realities, as he has put it, in Cyprus which are not taken up by the International Community and suggested that this is perhaps the reason of the failure to achieve peace for so many years. He mentioned as realities the existence of two distinct peoples, two separate administrations and two democracies. One cannot accept as realities the faits accomplis created by the use of force and maintained by military strength in blatant disregard of international law, and UN Resolutions. Ignoring the UN Resolutions can hardly be considered as a reality by the International Community.

(b) Regarding the application of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus for membership to the E.U. and whether Cyprus can or cannot join the E.U. for legal and political reasons, I wish to refer to the statement made a couple of days ago by H.E. the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg in his capacity as President of the E.U. regarding the interpretation of the 1960 treaties and the fact that these treaties cannot prevent Cyprus from joining the E.U. Finally for this point, let me recall, Mr. President, the statement made by the President of the Security Council of last August, the distinguished British Permanent Representative Sir John Weston who expressed the concern and disappointment of the Council because the Turkish Cypriot side tried to impede progress to the negotiating efforts by introducing the E.U. application as precondition to the talks.

(c) Regarding the deployment of S-300 missiles in Cyprus one year from now, I want to categorically state that these weapons are purely defensive surface-to-air missiles destined to defend the small island of Cyprus from a potential air attack since Cyprus has no air-force of its own. It is ludicrous to believe that Cyprus of a population of 1/2 million can in any way be a threat to the security of Turkey of 65 million people, or be a threat to the Turkish Cypriots who obviously do not fly in the air.

However, if there is a substantial political progress in the efforts to reach a political solution in the long-standing Cyprus problem or if there is an agreement in a programmed demilitarization of the island as suggested by President Clerides the reasons that have made us feel vulnerable facing 35,000 Turkish troops within the island of Cyprus and made us feel the necessity of ordering these missiles no longer exist then there will be no objective in deploying missiles or any other weapons in Cyprus.

Thank you Mr. President.