Cyprus is committed to resuming peace talks but not at gunpoint, says President Anastasiades

President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus stands ready to resume talks on the reunification of the island nation but not at gunpoint, he told the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

“For the (Cyprus peace) talks to resume with realistic prospects for success, it is imperative to create an environment which will be conducive for constructive and good faith negotiations… not under conditions of intimidation or threats,” Anastasiades said in his pre-recorded speech which was broadcast in the General Assembly Hall.

The latest attempt at reunification between the two sides collapsed in disarray in mid-2017.

“We are all concerned by Turkey’s interventions which affect the territorial integrity and destabilize Libya, Syria and Iraq, and we are also equally worried of the violations by the said country of the sovereign rights of both Greece and Cyprus. The combination of the above-mentioned has created a climate of increasing instability, with negative repercussions, not only to the region but beyond,” the President added.

He also reiterated Cyprus’ unwavering position.

If Erdogan “sincerely believes that Turkey’s actions against the Republic of Cyprus are compatible with international law, then why doesn’t he accept our proposal for a sincere bilateral dialogue or to refer the whole issue to the International Court of Justice? International law cannot be applied unilaterally, according to one’s whims. Wouldn’t be to the best benefit of everyone to settle our differences in accordance with international practices? On my behalf I wish to repeat once more that I am ready to engage in a constructive dialogue and/or to abide by any judgement of the International Court. The blame – game method is always used by those who bear the responsibility of not reaching a solution to problems or disputes they themselves created.”

Anastasiades also spoke about the shared responsibility of the covid-19 pandemic. “I believe that the only way forward in order to protect the most vulnerable groups of peoples is to collectively demonstrate solidarity, through supporting those countries whose health systems are in need. A solidarity which should also include sharing the vaccine for Covid-19 in an equitable and reciprocate manner once is being developed.”

In his closing remarks he echoed one of the most inspiring and hopeful mantras of the last session: “We remain united in our shared humanity and in giving peace a chance.”

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