|Visit to Israel marks the start of a new era, Cyprus President says|
President Nicos Anastasiades described his three-day working visit to Israel as the “start of a new era in bilateral relations,” saying he is “absolutely satisfied” with the talks he had with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Today we embarked on a strategically important dialogue with a view at enhancing and further developing our bilateral ties, which are founded on common principles and values,” said President Anastasiades. He added that the talks, as expected, focused on cooperation in energy matters and both sides reaffirmed their joint commitment to develop and exploit cross-border natural gas and oil reserves.
Canada supports a negotiated solution in Cyprus
Nicosia, Jan 13 (CNA) -- Canada remains strongly supportive of a mutually-acceptable negotiated solution to the Cyprus issue that will bring peace, security and prosperity to the people of Cyprus, the new High Commissioner of Canada, based in Athens, Robert Peck has said.
Presenting his credentials to President Demetris Christofias, Peck noted that his country greatly values the strong and enduring defence relationship between Canada and Cyprus.
''The Canada-Cyprus friendship continues to grow. We celebrate the people-to-people ties growing from the vibrant Cypriot-Canadian community that enriches Canada’s multicultural fabric and the numerous Canadians that make Cyprus their home. Just this past year, we launched the Cyprus-Canada Business Association. I hope this will increase the bilateral trade between our two countries, for the benefit of both countries,'' he noted.
He added that ''we also greatly value the strong and enduring defence relationship between Canada and Cyprus. Prosperity and security remain essential to the well-being of our citizens and we appreciate the extensive cooperation between Canada and Cyprus in these sectors. We recognize that, as a stable EU member, Cyprus continues to make an important contribution to regional and global security.''
On his part, President Christofias assured that Cyprus greatly values its relations with Canada and always stands ready to assist and cooperate, in various fields, for mutual benefit.
Referring to the ongoing direct negotiations to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem, Christofias noted that the agreed and mutually acceptable solution which will come out of these talks will be put before the people of Cyprus for approval in separate simultaneous referenda.
''The key to achieving the reunification of Cyprus, as soon as possible, is the commitment to this basis, both in words but also in deeds. As we have repeatedly stated, there remains limited time until the next meeting with the Secretary-General in New York. Therefore, without further delay, the decisions taken during our last meeting in Greentree in October must be implemented, to which our side remains committed and is actively working towards,'' he said.
He noted that ''it is therefore gravely disappointing that the Turkish Cypriot leadership submits proposals that renege on the convergences reached on core chapters of the Cyprus problem or avoids discussion on core issues, producing a serious setback and negating any progress at the talks.''
''It is of utmost importance that all sides show the good will and the necessary flexibility. Ankara’s verbal intimidation and threats against the Republic of Cyprus exercising its sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural gas resources within its Exclusive Economic Zone, or against assuming the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second semester of 2012, are obstructive and provocative,'' Christofias noted.
Furthermore he said that statements by the Turkish Prime Minister ruling out territorial adjustment, such as the return of Varosha, Morphou and the Karpass, are not conducive to the efforts towards reaching a settlement. ''It is regrettable, since the discovery of new energy sources by the Republic of Cyprus would be for the shared benefit of the whole people of Cyprus,'' he noted.
Christofias assured that “our side will continue to submit realistic and reasonable proposals, in good faith, with the aim to achieve further progress. We hope that the same good faith will be demonstrated by both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
Canadian High Commissioner reaffirms his country's support to Cyprus
Nicosia, Jan 13 (CNA) --- High Commissioner of Canada to Cyprus Robert William Peck stressed Friday that his country recognises the Republic of Cyprus' sovereign rights and supports the efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
According to an official press release, the High Commissioner, who held a meeting Friday with Minister of Defence Demetris Eliades, said that he looks forward to further enhancing the cooperation between the two states in the fields of defence and security.
The Cypriot Minister expressed the gratitude of Cyprus towards Canada's longlasting suppport for the solution of the Cyprus problem based on the UNSC resolutions, as well as for Canada's participation in the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus - UNFICYP.
The Minister briefed the Canadian official on the recent developments regarding the exploratory drilling for hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
He underlined that despite Turkish aggression against Cyprus' sovereign rights in its EEZ, Nicosia continues to exercise its sovereign rights fully in line with the international law.
Eliades stressed that Cyprus' hydrocarbon reserves are a strong incentive for Ankara to cooperate for a solution of the Cyprus problem and contribute to peace and prosperity in the wider region.
The Minister also briefed the Ambassador on Cyprus' presidency of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as of January 1st 2012 since Denmark, which holds the six monthly presidency as of this month, does not participate in the CSDP.
Referring to the Cyprus talks, the Minister said that ''unfortunately, the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side does not allow any room for optimism''.
But he noted that the Greek Cypriot side remains committed in efforts to reach a viable solution on the island.
The Republic of Cyprus which joined the EU in May 2004 will hold for the first time in its history the six monthly rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in July 2012.
The island of Cyprus is divided in two since the summer of 1974 when Turkey occupied 37% of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180.000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Another 20.000 Greek Cypriots, who remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government controlled areas.
Cyprus talks are currently underway between President Demetris Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country under a federal roof.
Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.
Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based “Noble Energy”, off Cyprus’ south-eastern coast.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey’s moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
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