Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Cyprus’ President today highlighted progress made so far on negotiations between the two communities of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots towards a unified country.
“This year, following a series of frequent meetings between the two leaders, I have pleasure in informing you that progress has been achieved on important aspects of the ‘Cyprus problem,’” President Nicos Anastasiades said during the Assembly’s annual debate.
The problem, he said, “sadly is the second longest-standing unresolved international issue” on the United Nations’ agenda.
“Following the tragic events of 1974 and Turkey’s invasion, the continuing military occupation of more than a third of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus and the forcible displacement of approximately 40 per cent of the population, the Greek Cypriot side, in a spirit of compromise, accepted the evolution of the unitary state to a federal one,” Mr. Anastasiades said.
Since then, he noted, a plethora of UN Security Council resolutions have reaffirmed the basis of the settlement as a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation that is politically equal and represents a single international legal personality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship.
Successive leaders of the two communities have, unsuccessfully thus far, engaged in numerous rounds of negotiations.
In this year’s talks with the new leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community, the two sides have confirmed, among others, that a united Cyprus should have a single international legal personality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship and that the federal constitution should prescribe that the united Cyprus will be composed of two constituent states of equal status.
However, he stressed, that differences remain on several issues relating to governance, European Union membership, economy, property, territory, security and guarantees.
Despite those differences, “I do believe that this ambitious goal is achievable,” provided that all interested parties and stakeholders, including Turkey, show a similar degree of commitment to his, the President said, expressing his resolve to reach, if possible by the end of the year, a solution that creates a win-win situation for all Cypriots and addresses the expectations, sensitivities and concerns of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
On 26 July, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months, until 31 January 2017, and welcomed the progress of the negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to reach a comprehensive settlement.
Made up of all the 193 UN Member States, the Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN Charter.