At the “Reuniting Cyprus” talk in Davos today, President Nicos Anastasiades made the first address “In Cyprus, myself and Mustafa [Akinci] are working tirelessly in reunifying our country”, he said.
He expressed the hope that Cyprus could become an island where both communities could coexist peacefully.
Anastasiades said that although there had been agreement on many issues, there had been no convergence on the main chapters in the negotiations.
He said, “Without creating unrealistic expectations, I believe that 2016 could be the year that we end the unacceptable status quo.”
Without wishing to create unrealistic expectation, he said he believed that 2016 could be the year of the solution to the Cyprus problem.
He called on the international community to support the process, noting that the island will be a full member of the EU when it is reunited.
Anastasiades said that the discovery of hydrocarbon could open up new opportunities for “cooperation and synergies”. He added that energy cooperation in the region could bring security to the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We strongly believe that energy cooperation in the region, without exclusions, can transform the Eastern Mediterranean into a pillar of stability, security and peace, while at the same time it can be a decisive factor to achieving energy security for the EU,” he said, adding “I am convinced that energy must not be allowed to be a source of friction, but rather a catalyst for peace, stability and regional integration. Essentially, it can become a ‘coal and steel’ story for the region.”
Anastasiades ended his speech by saying, “These are decisive times for Cyprus and the wider region.” Work will continue “to heal what is an open wound in the heart of Europe,” he said.
President Mustafa Akinci spoke next, saying that the Turkish Cypriots were very determined to achieve a settlement based on a bi-zonal federation with political equality for both communities.
He said that the ‘no’ vote by the majority of Greek Cypriots to the Annan Plan in 2004 had resulted in Cyprus joining the EU as a divided country.
Akinci also warned that, “This is the last trial at reuniting the island.”
He added that a reunited Cyprus would improve relations between the EU, Turkey, Greece, and finally the two Cypriot communities.
Akinci noted that energy discoveries could bring cooperation and stability by difusing conflict and tension in the region. “United Cyprus will be able to serve as a hub for pipelines transferring natural gas to the EU through Cyprus and Turkey which seems the most feasible route,” he said.
Reminding that the fresh water conveyed by undersea pipeline from Turkey to North Cyprus could be shared by everyone living on the island, Akinci also pointed out that electrical interconnectivity between the EU and the Middle East “will become a reality via Cyprus and Turkey which again seems to be the most efficient way.”
“All these can only be possible if Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots see each other as future partners and concentrate on the goal to create a united Cyprus where peace and prosperity shall prevail and future generation shall not face the same strife and uncertainties of the past,” he said.