As ‘the last European divided country’, Cyprus President tells Assembly UN is ‘the only way forward’

26 September 2019

The past 45 years of “unacceptable status quo” has prevented lasting peace and stability in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

Despite his country’s “sincere efforts and the constructive engagement” towards a settlement, Mr. Anastasiades said: “Cyprus remains the last European divided country”.

Yet he did acknowledge a “glimmer of hope” with a new effort by the UN Secretary-General that could “pave the way forward for the resumption of talks with the sole aim to reach a comprehensive settlement”,

The “vision of the people of Cyprus” he said, is to end the status quo with a state which will ensure common and prosperous future for the coming generations of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

“I want to send a clear message”, he asserted, “the United Nations and the Secretary-General’s good offices mission is the only way forward for us”.

In his latest report on the UN-facilitated Cyprus talks, the Secretary-General expressed the hope that ongoing consultations “will lead to a return to negotiations, to which I could devote the full weight of my good offices, with the aim of reaching a lasting resolution of the Cyprus issue.”

The global front

Turning to the world at large, President Anastasiades remarked that the combination of poverty, lack of adequate educational opportunities, social and economic exclusions and climate change “constitute the most serious problems” faced by billions globally.

For these people, who look to the international community for support, he argued, “we should not only address the root causes that have led to the creation of these challenges, but also reflect on why we have yet to tackle them.

Having failed to effectively tackle these challenges has sparked religious fundamentalism, violent extremism, civil war and ethnic conflicts, among other things.

But “most alarming”, he said, is that the combination of these factors has “led to the forcible displacement of millions of people, unprecedented waves of refugees and migratory flows”.

UN support

Flagging that the UN as the “only international forum” where nations can “collectively interact, deliberate and pursue common goals”, President Anastasiades expressed his country’s “strong conviction” that multilateralism, decisive collective action, international co-operation, greater solidarity and stronger partnerships are “the only answer” to eliminate these threats.

“History has repeatedly taught us the catastrophic consequences of not adhering to the principles, rules and synergies we have commonly developed within the framework of the UN”, he stated, reaffirming Cyprus’ “unwavering support” to the Secretary-General’s reform priorities of advancing peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and long-term development.

‘Defining moment’ of climate change

Underscoring that “we are at a defining moment as regards climate change”, the President of Cyprus stated that “we collectively carry the obligation” to provide future generations with a greener planet.

Noting “particularly alarming” projections of climate change impacts on the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, he announced that Cyprus has recently began coordinating regional climate change actions.

“This initiative intends to bring together our regions’ leading scientists and policymakers, with a view to developing practical and achievable solutions that will have durable benefits for our citizens”, he elaborated.


♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UK’s Johnson warns of dystopian digital future, calls on UN to set global standards for emerging technologies

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday evening focused his address at the UN mainly on the looming threat of artificial intelligence run amok, but also made a brief reference to Brexit – comparing the process of the UK’s delayed departure from the European Union to classical Greek mythology.

At UN, France’s Macron says more ‘political courage’ is needed to face global challenges

Addressing world leaders at the UN General Assembly's annual high-level debate on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for courage, and for politicians to take the risks needed to achieve real solutions to contemporary challenges.