Former Greek Cypriot President Yiorgos Vasiliou was the keynote speaker at a conference organised by KTAMS (Cyprus Turkish Civil Servants Trade Union). Also attending the conference was Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami and TDP Secretary General Mehmet Harmanci, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports.
The ex-president began by saying: “I hoped both communities could start EU accession negotiations together. However the Turkish Cypriot leadership at the time did not want that”.
Vasiliou who was the Greek Cypriot president from 1988 to 1993 was optimistic about the latest round of negotiations. “We had countless negotiation processes throughout the years but didn’t manage to reach a settlement. However I am hopeful that this time round things will be different. The joint declaration was very important as it refers to a united country. Uniting all the communities of Cyprus under one roof and the reunion of the island will mean implementation of EU Acquis in the entire island” said Vasiliou.
Pointing out that two separate states is not an acceptable structure under the EU umbrella, Vasiliou called on both sides to end the debate about who wants a solution more and that both sides want a solution.
“The EU spirit is not a separatist one. I understand that due to the economic crisis some might have reservations about the EU. However, the economic crisis actually resulted from lack of unity. So if the true spirit of EU is followed economic crises can be prevented,” he added.
Vasiliou also stressed that a solution will be beneficial to all. Noting that Greek Cypriots could repair their economy after a solution, he reminded everyone that a major Turkish market would be opened to Greek Cypriots and tourism could develop further.
“The advantages of a solution for Turkish Cypriots are more obvious as they will enter the EU, young Turkish Cypriots will worry less about the future, they will be freed from the isolations and foreign investment will increase. Also with hydrocarbons, a solution will bring great benefits to all of Cyprus. Our island can easily become the pearl of Eastern Mediterranean,” Vasiliou concluded.