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Objectives “completely achieved” with the common declaration, Cyprus President says

13 February, 2014

The Greek Cypriot side has “completely achieved” its objectives through the common declaration, that has been agreed on Tuesday with the Turkish Cypriot side, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday.

The President was responding to questions by the press, after presenting the provisions of the agreement that has paved the way for the relaunch of Cyprus talks, under UN auspices.

“I had stated that in order to engage in a dialogue, the basic principles that constitute the components of every internationally recognized state, needed to be clarified” the President said, referring to the agreement to securing for the future unified state a single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship.

He dismissed in this regard various interpretations of the agreement, saying “they always existed and will continue to exist”. He noted that the points in the agreed text of the common declaration are clear, preventing any side of going back to them.

President Anastasiades further said that he will not comment on statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervish Eroglu, noting that he is rather focused on forthcoming discussions at the negotiations’ table.

He reiterated that the future state will be a continuation of the existing Republic of Cyprus, with the common declaration acknowledging that the United Cyprus will be a UN and EU member.

He added that the text notes down that negotiations will be held between the two communities of Cyprus and not between two existing sovereign states, as Eroglu is maintaining.

On Confidence Building Measures (CBM) President Anastasiades said both the common declaration, as well as the announcement from the White House after the agreement are clear towards this direction.

He said an analogous case to CBM’s in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian talks can be done in Cyprus as well.

Moreover, he assured that no pledges were made in return to open new chapters in Turkey’s EU accession negotiations. Nicosia is retaining its objections for new chapters, until Ankara meets its obligations, that is the implementation of the Ankara Protocol, the President said.

On Greece’s role in the process, the President of Cyprus noted that Athens will have a supportive counseling role, noting in parallel that it is not Greece that occupies Cyprus, but Turkey.

He referred finally to the exchange of visits, the negotiators of the two sides are expected to have soon in Athens and Ankara respectively, noting that this was a permanent position of the Greek Cypriot side to be able to talk with Turkey.

On another question concerning the involvement of the international community in the process, the President said that the role of the EU, the US and other countries, like Russia, France and Germany is supportive, however the process is under the auspices of the UN.

He also said that that a Cyprus solution will have a stabilizing effect in the region, creating new prospects for unresolved differences.

The President also differentiated the peace process from developments in the country’s economy. Cyprus is implementing currently an adjustment program agreed with international lenders from the EU and the IMF, in return for a 10 bln loan.

Replying to a question to the different approach of Dervis Eroglu he highlighted the significance of the joint declaration to that effect. “It is the shield so that neither the single international personality, nor the single sovereignty, nor the single citizenship can be put into doubt”, he said.

He reiterated that the methodology to be followed is established in the joint declaration and that all unresolved fundamental issues are on the table.

Replying to a question as to the EU’s contribution to the process he expressed satisfaction with the statement of the President’s of the European Commission and the European Council on Tuesday and said that his request had been that the EU should have a more active contribution in as far as checking the proposals for compatibility with the European principles and values.

President Anastasiades concluded his press conference by pledging that he is going to the talks determined to seek the greatest possible collective action in decision making.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks are expected to start soon, after the two sides reached a common declaration that outlines the basic provisions for a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country under a federal roof.