President Nicos Anastasiades said that if Turkey continues to violate Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), he will withdraw from talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
He said he is positive that there can be a solution to the Cyprus problem especially with the discovery of natural gas, however stressed that Turkey needs to stop violating Cyprus' EEZ.
In a newspaper interview, Anastasiades talked about the negotiations, energy developments, the situation of the economy and the memorandum as well as the coalition with Democratic Party Diko.
He said that the discovery of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ EEZ is a significant factor that can contribute towards a solution to the Cyprus problem.
“This opens up new horizons for the island, as a natural gas liquefaction terminal in Cyprus can lead towards a closer collaboration with Israel, Lebanon and Egypt. It would also give the possibility to Turkey for energy supply from Cyprus and help regulate its significant energy problems,” said Anastasiades.
He said that the discovery of natural gas in Cyprus' EEZ also prompted the USA to take a more active role in promoting a solution to the Cyprus problem.
“The USA’s interest creates a new dynamic, especially if the quantities are such that they can replace existing monopolies and the political associations created,” Anastasiades said.
In response to a question about when there will be more developments on energy issues, Anastasiades said that within the next two years, with the completion of research by Total, ENI and Noble, we will have a clearer image of the quantity. After that, he said it will be another two to three years for the evaluation of natural gas reserves.
Regarding the economy, Anastasiades said that adherence to the memorandum signed between the state and the Troika brought about positive results. This is seen through the positive comments of the third assessment made by international lenders, the rating upgrade of the Cyprus economy by Standard & Poor's and the decline in Cypriot bonds from 15% in March 2013 to 7.3%.
Concerning disagreement with Diko president Nicolas Papadopoulos, Anastasiades said he respects any disagreement and decisions by Diko.
“The aim is for collaboration with parties that support this process, however without ignoring those who disagree.”
Diko was poised to quit the coalition in disagreement over a decision to restart peace talks.
Anastasiades said that the aim is to continue efforts to tackle this difficult process.
“Also to succeed in finding a solution that will cover the concerns of Greek Cypriots without ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots,” he added.