A Cyprus settlement has not been reached yet due to Turkey’s insistence to maintain guarantees and the Turkish army on the island, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou has said.
Prodromou met on Wednesday at the Presidential Palace with a group of foreign diplomats and commercial attachés, who are stationed in Athens and are accredited to the Republic of Cyprus. The group is visiting Cyprus at the initiative of the commercial department of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Athens to learn more on Cyprus products, services and investment opportunities.
Speaking to the group, the Government Spokesman also referred to the trilateral cooperation schemes Cyprus promotes with neighbouring EU and non-EU countries, and said that the energy program of the Republic of Cyprus opens up new horizons.
The recovery of Cyprus’ economy and its continuous upgrade by credit rating agencies, the restructuring of the banking sector and rising growth rates were also pointed out by Prodromou, who noted that “last year Cyprus reached again investment grade.”
Among others, he referred to the tourism sector, where visitor numbers continue to grow, as well as in the areas of shipping, investment and energy.
With regard to the Cyprus problem, the Government Spokesman noted that the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades continues his efforts to reach a settlement, and noted the ongoing initiative by UN envoy Jane Holl Lute with the aim to resume talks.
Negotiations need to resume from the point they were left off at Crans Montana, he said referring to the Swiss resort that hosted the Conference of Cyprus in 2017, and which ended inconclusively.
The aim, Prodromou went on, is to reach a viable and functioning solution, on the basis of EU principles and UN Security Council resolutions, without dependencies, guarantees, intervention rights or occupation troops.
Despite the efforts of our side, reaching a settlement has not been possible yet due to Turkey’s insistence to preserve guarantees and the Turkish army in Cyprus, the Government Spokesman underlined.
He also referred to EU support for a Cyprus settlement and the Union’s presence in the efforts to turn Cyprus into a normal state.
Speaking finally about hydrocarbon discoveries in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, Prodromou said new horizons were opening up. He noted that Nicosia’s energy program is in line with EU policies and stems from the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results.