& nbsp & nbspΑνδρέας Πιμπίσιης & nbsp; & nbsp;
Upon his return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulidis launched a campaign to promote Confidence Building Measures in order to make progress on the Cyprus issue and return to talks. An attempt that risks being blown up before it bears fruit, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine creates a new situation on the international arena and that also affects developments in Cyprus due to Turkey's behavior.
This is exactly the behavior of Turkey, the Cypriot Foreign Minister stated the reservation of the Republic of Cyprus at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. Nicosia reserves the right to unilaterally review or reconsider the decision in the event that Turkey attempts to instrumentalize the decision. And as Ioannis Kasoulidis explains & nbsp; in his interview with “F”, instrumentation means attracting Russian tourists to the occupied territories through the illegal Tympos airport. In such a case, according to the Foreign Minister, “our decision will be reconsidered and Turkey's stance will be denounced.” & Nbsp;
Furthermore, I. Kasoulidis emphasizes that “Turkey can not be allowed to walk the path of irrationality, harming the interests of the European Union and its member states and its commitments to NATO.” Asked whether Cyprus would go against EU decisions, the Foreign Minister reiterated that if there was a case of instrumentalization “then the JC will proceed with a review of the implementation of the decision”. & Nbsp;
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I. Kasoulidis admits that the effort for Confidence Building Measures becomes difficult with the current data and the whole behavior of Turkey in relation to the implementation of the decisions of the European Union. Our conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs began with the controversial announcement he issued, in which he spoke about the first invasion of European territory. As for Lavrov's statement, & nbsp; I. Kasoulidis states that this will be put to the Russian side at a later stage. & Nbsp;
– Your statement that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was somewhat surprising is the first on European soil since World War II. Turkish invasion of Cyprus was not on European soil? & Nbsp;
– Is it possible to conclude that with this statement I forgot the Turkish invasion of Cyprus? Was not the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the day of the recognition of the pseudo-states of Luhansk and Donetsk a clear condemnation of all illegal and unilateral actions affecting the Sovereignty, Independence and Territorial Integrity of all states?/p>
I wanted to use the statement to highlight the unprecedented complexity of this international conflict, which due to its potential has attracted unprecedented geopolitical interest from around the world, while at the same time lurking in danger of being derailed in a generalized conflict. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have an institutional role and mission to defend the sovereignty of the state and I work in this direction every day. This is neither questionable nor alternative interpretations.
– Many rushed to compare the Russian invasion of Ukraine with that of Turkey in Cyprus in 1974. Do you agree with this statement and if so where, if not why? & Nbsp;
– My answer to the previous question also covers your question. In both cases, as I have said, there is an issue of invasion, illegal occupation and violation of fundamental principles of international law such as the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states.
– Of course, your report followed that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who referred to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. And this is a language slip; & nbsp;
– I do not know if this is a slip of the tongue or a deliberate statement by Mr Lavrov. It is possible that he was trying to highlight the need to recognize the Donbass separatists as interlocutors of the official Ukrainian government, in order to hold talks or negotiations to resolve the issue, as is the case in Cyprus between the leaders of the two communities. Given the seriousness of the situation that prevails internationally, I prefer to raise the issue with the Russian side in the immediate future. & nbsp;
– The impression is given that Cyprus agrees with the EU decisions against Russia but does not do so with its soul. For example, the decision to close the airspace was made with reservations. Why with reservation?
– You are right that the closure of the National Airspace was done with some reservations, and mainly with the reservation of our right to unilaterally review or reconsider the decision. The Republic of Cyprus, like all Member States, will be affected by this decision, especially in the field of tourism. What is particularly disturbing is Turkey's decision to ignore the European Union's decisions, and despite the fact that its NATO Allies have proceeded with a coordinated closure of airspace, Turkey has decided to stand out in a provocative and problematic way. We have stated that in the event that Turkey implements this decision, attracting Russian tourists to the occupied areas through the illegal airport of Tympos, then our decision will be reconsidered and Turkey's attitude will be denounced. & nbsp;
– The question arises, why do we have a reservation that Turkey will do the same? That is, if Turkey keeps its airspace open, will we open it too? But Turkey is not an EU member state. & Nbsp;
– Turkey is a NATO member state and a candidate for membership in the European Union. It must therefore comply with and comply with such decisions, both in the context of its obligations under its Negotiating Framework and in the context of EU-NATO cooperation. Turkey can not be allowed to follow the path of irrationality, harming the interests of the European Union and its member states and its commitments to NATO. & Nbsp;
– Are you saying that Cyprus will go against EU decisions? & Nbsp;
– I repeat that in case of instrumentalization of the decision by Turkey and in case it exploits the issue in a way that to promote the pseudo-state and the illegal airport of Tympos, then the Republic of Cyprus will proceed with a review of the implementation of the & nbsp; decision.
We have not locked ourselves in either a new or an old retreat b >
The proposal of the Greek Cypriot side regarding the airport of the occupied Tympos is a “starting point for further discussions”, says Ioannis Kasoulidis in his interview with “F”. That is why issues such as the Nicosia FIR can be discussed. “When the time comes for substantive talks, any concerns will be secured,” he said. & Nbsp;
He considers it a positive fact that a debate has started within the Turkish Cypriot community in a way that does not reject the CCAs and encouragingly the results of his contacts so far in the international arena. & Nbsp;
As to whether there is a risk of being trapped in new retreats by the Greek Cypriot side, I. Kasoulidis emphasizes that “the main purpose of the whole operation is, among other things, to save Famagusta.” And according to the Foreign Minister, “on the cost-benefit scale, the benefit and the opportunity we have to save Famagusta and to stop the settlement of the enclosed area exceeds any costs”. Finally, he states that at the moment “there is a window of opportunity to save Famagusta” while for the other occupied areas “this window does not exist at this stage”.
– You have started taking over your duties a MOE promotion campaign. I will first dwell on the proposal for Tympos airport. If the request of the Greek Cypriot side is accepted and the airport passes under the control of the UN, the part of the FIR that Turkey is currently intervening in, will the Republic of Cyprus control it or will we continue to have the same problems?
– I can not rule out that if the individual aspects of the airport proposal are discussed there will be no problems. So far we have not touched on the issue of FIR. But we will do so if the proposal is accepted as a starting point for further discussions. When the time comes for substantive discussions, any concerns will be secured.
– How do you comment on the fact that the Turkish side avoids dealing with your proposal for a UNSC? p>
– If the Turkish side tries to reject the proposal, then as you say, it will avoid dealing with it. A debate has started in the Turkish Cypriot community, where various stakeholders are acting in a way that our proposals are not rejected. As far as our side is concerned, the effort to promote the MOE continues intensively, and I am pleased to note that the first results of our contacts with our various interlocutors are very positive. & Nbsp;
– If in the end the Turkish side does not enter into a discussion then why did we hurry to promote MOE? To lock ourselves in new retreats, as some claim?
– It should be understood by all that the main purpose of the whole project is, among other things, to save Famagusta. This, I repeat, is not a figure of speech but an effort full of substance and content. On the cost-benefit scale, the benefit and the opportunity we have to save Famagusta and stop the settlement of the enclosed area is greater than any cost. We have not trapped ourselves in any new or old retreat. Is it a retreat when you have the initiative of actions and actions in order to create mobility in the Cyprus issue and to submit proposals to remove the impasse? The transfer of Tympos airport under the administrative responsibility of the UN in exchange for the return of Famagusta to its legal residents is not a retreat but a serious and responsible move that is result-oriented. A move that will test the readiness reflexes of each side, both against the other and against the International Community. We will not fail in this test.
– When you say that Famagusta should be saved through this strategy you are following, do you mean that all the other occupied territories should be forgotten? What makes Varosia more valuable than the Solution? & Nbsp;
– The city of Varosia is an enclosed area and is an ideal case where tangible results can be achieved without the known complications that often arise from property or territorial issues. But it is enough to have the will to make progress. From our side there is both the will and the readiness to achieve progress. There is a window of opportunity to save Famagusta and it should be left open. For the other occupied areas this window does not currently exist. However, there will be a substantial resumption of negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The effort & nbsp; – How is it compatible to put Turkey ahead in terms of closing the airspace for Russian aircraft but at the same time to promote MOE for the airport of the occupied Tympos? & Nbsp;
– These are two completely dissimilar things. The temporary transfer of Tympos airport under the administrative responsibility of the United Nations has nothing to do with the illegal operation of Tympos as an occupied airport. It is one thing to make efforts for Confidence Building Measures in the context of a process of resolving the Cyprus problem, and another thing to see the way Turkey operates by instrumentalizing a European Union decision. It is obvious that in the case of the second scenario, the effort for Confidence Building Measures will become even more difficult.