Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said the government of Cyprus is promoting a generous package and a brave gesture as regards the Confidence Building Measures, underlining that the priority is to save Turkish occupied Famagusta.
In an intervention on Saturday during an event on the future of Europe, the Minister said the measures will test the reflexes, readiness and willingness of each side, noting that the precondition is Turkey to adopt the Ankara protocol which will mean that it will automatically open its ports and airports to all Cyprus flagged ships and planes.
The minister said the EU is demanding that cohabitation and solidarity should be equal, adding the argument to impose sanctions against Turkey is fair, but we are ready to keep this discussion at a technocratic level. The right climate is required for the resumption of talks, said Kasoulides, adding for this reason CBMs will be attempted, something which our EU interlocutors were demanding.
Kasoulides said it is clear that the government’s external policy is not changing, however it is reasonable to re-evaluate actions and tactics to enable aims and pursuits to be achieved.
Replying to journalists’ questions upon his arrival to the event he said that so far the international response to the proposal for CBMs has been a positive one.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.
Speaking about the future of the EU, the Cypriot FM said that citizens` expectations for the future are high and the challenges are enormous, especially for foreign policy, security and defence, for energy and for the dilemma of enlargement and deepening.
He stressed that for Cyprus, the EU`s strategic compass is an opportunity to highlight and make more specific the goal of autonomy of the Union and to consolidate the common strategic culture and institutional deepening for security and defence.
Kasoulides further referred to the challenges of green transition, noting that Cyprus can become a model. The fluctuation in the price of fossil fuels should concern us, adding that we should not become victims of the instability but have more choices.
He talked about the exploitation of renewable energy resources and the opportunities provided by Green Line areas that can highlight cooperation between the two communities.
Meanwhile, in a press release, the Foreign Ministry said that Kasoulides departs on Sunday for Brussels to take part in the Foreign Affairs Council to be held on Monday 21 February 2021.
Foreign affairs ministers will discuss the latest developments in Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine and will hold a discussion on the European security situation in eastern Europe, developments in western Balkans, Climate diplomacy and other regional and international issues.
EU foreign affairs ministers will also meet their counterparts from the Gulf countries in the joint council of the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
In Brussels, Kasoulides will hold bilateral meetings and contacts with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell as well as Italy’s FM Luigi Di Maio and Germany’s Annalena Baerbock.
On Monday he will depart for Paris where the French Presidency on Tuesday will host the Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Kasoulides will participate in a round-table discussion on the challenges including security and defence, connectivity and digital technology, and global challenges (climate, biodiversity and health).
He will also meet with officials from the French Senate and Parliament before returning home on 24 February.