Address by The President of the Cyprus Republic before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe IN Strasbourg (Abstract on the Situation in Cyprus)

28 January, 2004  

A solution is urgently needed in Cyprus; a functional and viable solution that will meet the aspirations of all Cypriots, restore their human rights to the standards required by the Council of Europe, reinforce their sense of security and enable them to prosper within the European Union.

In the last few days, there have been several public statements that new moves and a new approach by Turkey, towards the illegal occupation of part of Cyprus by Turkish troops, is in the making. I sincerely hope and wish, that these reports reflect a reality and are not a "public relations" campaign. Unfortunately, the initial picture has been confused by other contradictory and confusing statements, which retract or conflict with previous statements.
It would be unwise to rush into assessments and conclusions, before we are formally and reliably informed of the true state of affairs.

In pursuance of our consistent efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem through negotiations, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions and the acquis communautaire, I have, once more and recently, by my letter of 17th December, 2003, reiterated to the United Nations Secretary-General my firm commitment to engage earnestly in substantive negotiations on the basis of his Plan and under his auspices in accordance with numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the mandate thereby given to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, at any time that he may decide to convene negotiations.

Ever since the collapse of the talks in The Hague in March 2003, as a result of the rejection of the Annan Plan by the Turkish-Cypriot side, we have been advocating the resumption of the United Nations process, at the earliest possible point in time, with the aim of reaching a solution before the 1st of May 2004, so that a reunited Cyprus could join the European Union. However, the longstanding negative stance of the Turkish side, thwarted all of our efforts.

In answer to the ongoing public relations campaign now in progress on behalf of Turkey, I wish to restate in the most categorical way, that the Greek-Cypriot side and myself, are ready to respond positively to any invitation of the Secretary-General to a new round of talks, on the basis of his plan with the aim of achieving a more functional and just solution which, as a result will be durable and viable and will enable Cyprus to play its full role in the European Union after its formal accession on the 1st of May, 2004, as a constructive partner in the Union and not as a troublesome member.

At any time that we may be invited to a new round of negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General and in accordance with his mandate, we shall be there, without any conditions on our part.

We are ready to proceed immediately with a meaningful and substantive negotiation on the basis of, and within the parameters of the Annan Plan and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, in order to arrive, if possible before May 1st, 2004, at a functional and thus viable solution to the Cyprus problem which would allow the effective participation of Cyprus in the European Union. I sincerely hope that the Turkish side will also genuinely demonstrate the required political will to this end and within these parameters.

Mr President,

The Republic of Cyprus, a long-standing member of the Council of Europe, which is at the threshold of accession to the EU, will continue to strive towards the realisation of all our common aims. Our history, marred by attacks at our unity and sovereignty, our geographical position as the bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, the co-existence for centuries of various religions, cultures and ways of life in the island, makes us particularly sensitive when it comes to safeguarding and further promoting the achievements of European integration.

I referred earlier to Strasbourg, as the city symbol in the journey of Europe towards peace, stability and reconciliation; as a testament to the success of our efforts to construct a wider and integrated Europe. In stark contrast comes the capital of my own country, Nicosia, the only remaining divided city of Europe, separated by a wall of division that is a cacophony and a wound to our vision of one united Europe.
I urge you all to help in removing this anachronism.


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