President Nicos Anastasiades has stressed that the island’s current division, as a result of the continuing Turkish occupation since 1974, must not be allowed to become permanent. But he is also optimistic of the benefits that could derive from a solution.
He also said that the tragedy of the invasion must not be allowed to run full circle.
In a statement to the Cyprus News Agency on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion on Sunday, Anastasiades said that the current prevailing conditions could allow a win-win solution of the Cyprus problem, provided the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey understand this.
He noted that a solution that will safeguard the rights of Greek Cypriots, without denying the rights of Turkish Cypriots, is feasible.
Referring to the benefits of a solution, President Anastasiades said that “with the Cyprus problem solved, there will be more opportunities to exploit the hydrocarbons reserves in the eastern Mediterranean and create conditions of reconciliation between Greece and Turkey.”
He pointed out that “at the same time the solution will help consolidate a sentiment of stability and bring significant investments to the benefit of all the legal inhabitants of the country.”
“The Turkish invasion of Cyprus is a tragic event that has overturned the history of this island over the centuries,” he said.
"The expulsion of the Greek Cypriot population from the occupied part, the establishment of all Turkish Cypriots in the northern part and the systematic colonisation of the occupied areas by Turkey have created a new reality on the ground," he noted.
As the years go by, the President warned, “there is the risk that this temporary situation could turn into a permanent one. What I am concerned and anxious about is not to allow the permanent division of Cyprus. My message on the occasion of this anniversary is that we have to prevent this tragedy to complete its course.”
Asked about current prospects of a political settlement, the President said that Cyprus “has a regional role to play which is much greater than its size, once its political problem is resolved.”
Noting that "the geopolitical balance in the region is being redefined", the President said that "Cyprus is the only country in our region that can become the best example of coexistence of Christians and Muslims, that will maintain excellent relations with Israel and with all Arab countries."
"With the Cyprus problem solved, there will be greater opportunities to exploit hydrocarbons reserves in the eastern Mediterranean and conditions of reconciliation between Greece and Turkey will be created,” he added
The solution, he pointed out, “will bring many benefits and I see no reason why we shall not be able to achieve this. “
“My wish and my hope is that the other side will understand the dynamics of this period to that we will be celebrating the anniversary of the solution and not the sad anniversary of the tragedy of 1974," he concluded.
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