EU must push Turkey over Cyprus, says Christofias

The European Union must exert its pressure on Turkey, in the light of its EU accession course and its European aspirations, to change Ankara’s stance and cooperate toward reaching a settlement, the Greek Cypriot president said.

“Turkey should get rid of its expansionist policy and must give [Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali] Talat a chance for negotiations,” Dimitris Christofias said late on Sunday. Christofias also warned that the Turkish government would face a firm Greek opposition over its EU membership bid “if it fails to fulfill its obligations in the EU process.” “Turkey will find us in its way, in the framework of efforts for its accession to the EU,” he said.

Progress has been made in the negotiations with President Talat, the Greek Cypriot president said, and added that both compromises and disagreements have emerged during the talks, according to a report by the Greek daily Haravgi.

The division of Cyprus “constitutes a destructive option and so we must terminate it the soonest possible … this is why our policy is based on a comprehensive strategy and tactic,” he said.

“Despite the fact that we expected more progress than this achieved so far, we are not disappointed and we remain reservedly optimistic,” Christofias said, adding: “We will continue to work with the same sincerity, always demonstrating through the proposals we are submitting our political will for a just settlement under the circumstances and having always in mind the well-perceived interests of all the people of Cyprus.”

Christofias reiterated that they remain committed to the agreed base and the principles for a Cyprus settlement, and added: “We purse a settlement providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation because it is the only realistic approach to lift the division.”

“The settlement must really reunite the country, the people, the institutions and the economy on the basis of the international law principles, the Security Council’s relevant resolutions and the principles on which the EU is funded,” another Greek daily, Famagusta, quoted him as saying.

Our goal is to achieve a settlement that will be functional and viable so that it can be durable and ensure conditions of peace and prosperity, he added.

“The United Federal Republic of Cyprus does not need guarantees and guarantors since its people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, will be able to feel and be really secure,” he said.

Christofias and Talat have been engaged in U.N.-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island. The second round of talks will begin on Sept. 3.

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