President Anastasiades took the stand of the UN General Assembly on Thursday to call on Turkey to help ‘inject a dynamic impetus’ to the Cyprus peace talks resuming next month.
And this, he stressed, could be achieved through the adoption of confidence-building measures such as the return of the ghost town of Famagusta to its lawful Greek Cypriot inhabitants.
“It is my strong belief that it is of paramount significance for a dynamic impetus to be injected, either before or even during the negotiating process, in order to restore the confidence of the people of Cyprus to the prospect of reaching a settlement,” he said.
“Such an impetus can only be achieved through the adoption of bold measures which are considered as ‘game changers’ and as creating a ‘win-win situation’, not only for both Communities but also for all the interested stakeholders,” he added.
He also said that the return of Turkish-held Famagusta would do a lot more than just revive the hope of Cyprus’ people.
It would also boost the economy of the cash-strapped country since the
infrastructural restoration of a city that has been uninhabited for 39 years will lead to the creation of new jobs. In a wide variety of professional fields, he added.
“At the same time, by working together, building mutual trust and enjoying the results of joint collaboration, Greek and Turkish Cypriots will come closer to the realization of the benefits of sharing together a prosperous future, just as we have done so in the past,” he said.
The President also welcomed Ankara’s decision to accept his proposal to meet with diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis - the Greek Cypriot community’s negotiator.
Preparing the ground for the UN-brokered negotiations in order to avoid entering a new frustrating negotiating process is essential, he said.
“I consider essential that before the start of the negotiating process to be clearly established that the basis and the solution to be reached will adhere to the relevant UN resolutions, the High Level Agreements and the evolving transformation of the Republic of Cyprus in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal state, with a single international personality, single sovereignty and single citizenship,” he added.
Anastasiades also referred to the positive and stabilising role that Cyprus can assume in the turbulent Eastern Mediterranean region.
“We have proven that we are a reliable and interconnecting bridge between Europe, North Africa, the Near and Middle East,” he said.
“Both in terms of perception and in terms of actions, as well as a credible and stable country that gives true credence to being a safe haven,” he added.
On the recent “most encouraging development” in the area in the field of energy co-operation, he said: “The very promising potential of hydrocarbon exploration in the Levantine basin requires that all countries in the region work closely together, bilaterally and regionally”.
And he added: “Pertinent to this and a testament to our constructive role in the region is the fact that Cyprus has assumed a leading role in bringing neighbouring hydrocarbon-producing countries together, seeking opportunities not only for maritime boundary agreements but also for joint efforts in exploring these hydrocarbon resources”.
Anastasiades’ message was that energy should not be a source of conflict but a catalyst for peaceful resolution and regional integration.