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Home arrow Current Affairs arrow Top Story arrow Statements of Foreign Minister Lambrinidis and the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Christofias, following their meeting at the 66th UN General Assembly (21 September 2011)

Statements of Foreign Minister Lambrinidis and the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Christofias, following their meeting at the 66th UN General Assembly (21 September 2011)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Statements of Foreign Minister Lambrinidis and the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Christofias, following their meeting at the 66th UN General Assembly (21 September 2011) Mr. Lambrinidis: As always, the President of Cyprus, Mr. Christofias, and I had an excellent meeting. We discussed everything, including – naturally – the issue of the day, which is the announcement on the continental shelf: the agreement between Turkey and occupied Cyprus.

It is well known that this is a completely illegal action, without substance, without validity, which shows – if nothing else – how far removed Turkey is from international law and the role it should be playing in the region. And this role is not that of law-breaking gendarme, but that of a country that could contribute right now to stability in a region like ours – a region with so many problem areas.

This action is obviously condemnable. I state again, as I did to the President himself, that he has our undivided support for the only way out of all these problems: the resolution of the Cyprus issue. And the resolution of the Cyprus issue in the manner determined by the UN, as President Christofias has shown through his actions and proposals.

He has and will continue to have this undivided and dynamic support. It was a great pleasure to see you, Mr. President, and I thank you very much for the opportunity and honor of this meeting.

Mr. Christofias: It is always my pleasure as well, Mr. Minister. The convergence of our views is and should be considered a given. Greece is our greatest support. This is a fact. In these difficult conditions for Greece and Cyprus, we need to stand by one another absolutely.

I express my gratitude for this support and understanding and for the joint actions we are proceeding to in order to confront Turkey’s provocations and expansionist policy. What Turkey is doing in reply – shall we say – to the Republic of Cyprus’s perfectly legal exploration for hydrocarbons within its EEZ is a provocation that is completely unacceptable because it is an illegal act compounding illegality.

By this, I mean that Turkey is concluding an agreement with a pseudo-state that has twice been condemned unanimously by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, as well as by individual states. In resolution 541, when the pseudo-state was declared, and in resolution 550, when Turkey exchanged ambassadors with the pseudo-state.

So I consider this action to be a continuation of those illegal actions, and as such we denounce it. I will also denounce it in my speech tomorrow to the General Assembly. I will of course also be challenging Turkey, because what it is doing is has no common-sense basis. If Turkey really wants the Turkish Cypriot community to enjoy the fruits of nature’s gifts to Cyprus, it should persuade or, if you will, directly guide Mr. Eroglu to reach an agreement with his collocutor.

What I want to guarantee, and what is guaranteed by the convergence on economic issues to date, is that the Turkish Cypriots have nothing to lose. In fact, they have much to gain. Because these issues of exploitation of hydrocarbons come under the authority of the central government.

And in its budget, the central government will distribute to both communities, to the two component communities, the revenues from this exploitation, from these actions. The message to the Turkish Cypriots and to Turkey is that we should find a solution as soon as possible. But, as President of the Republic, I would say that I guarantee that before the solution, if Turkey does not want to show good will, if we have revenues, we will see how we use these revenues for the good of the two communities.

This has to be clear. And since that is the way things are, Turkey’s provocation is doubly unacceptable. Beyond that, I am going to meet with the permanent members of the Security Council, at the usual luncheon – we are already exchanging views with the permanent members of the Security Council. I am not a fan of big talk, as  you know. We are sounding out the potential reactions we might have from the Security Council as well. Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. My warm greetings to the Prime Minister.

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