President of the Republic Demetris Christofias said that solution of the Cyprus problem must not be set as a precondition for the exploitation of hydrocarbons, which has begun off Cyprus’ southeastern coast, reassuring that “there are ways for the Turkish Cypriots to also get profited“, noting also that “I promised to the Turkish Cypriots that any profit will not be a profit exclusively for the Greek Cypriots”.
Speaking Thursday at a press conference at the United Nations, President Christofias however hoped for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to find a way to both benefit from the natural resources , noting that “during the bi-communal negotiations we have already agreed on the chapter of economy that the exploitation of the natural sources will be an obligation of the central government”.
He went on to say that “the government will distribute the income to both units, the Greek-Cypriot constituent unit and the Turkish-Cypriot constituent unit”, adding that “the Turkish-Cypriots will profit from the possible investigation and exploitation of natural resources, Turkey as well, because Turkey after the solution of the Cyprus problem and Greece as well, will be both privileged countries, and they could in a peaceful way as two sovereign states, the United Federal Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Turkey, negotiate and cooperate in many fields, including in this field”.
President of the Republic underlined that the Security Council, the EU and other countries have defended Cyprus’ sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) , adding that Turkey rejects the rights of a member state of the UN and the EU and described her stance as “inappropriate and unacceptable”.
He also rejected news information in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press that Greek Cypriots prepare themselves for war. “This is ridiculous to hear, the National Guard is deployed in an absolutely defensive way and we could not make war with Turkey, everybody knows how powerful Turkey is comparing to the Republic of Cyprus, so we want peaceful solutions to all problems we face as Cypriots between us and with Turkey”.
Cyprus President denounced once again the “agreement on continental shelf” signed Wednesday between Ankara and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, in occupied Cyprus.
“…Turkey is now signing an agreement with a non existing state, with an illegal international entity, this is why we say that Turkey once again violates the international law, first of all she violated it with invading and occupying 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus and secondly with this illegal continuing action of signing illegally with this entity an agreement for exploitation of what? Of sources of the Economic Zone of Cyprus”, he noted.
Replying to a question about the Turkish threats in the region, President said the situation is assessed in cooperation with Greece, hoping things will not escalate leading to a crisis in the region.
“We have enough ‘hot” crises in our region and I hope that the Turkish leadership is reasonable enough to avoid such bad and unfortunate possibilities”, he noted.
Referring to the Cyprus problem and the UN led direct talks, President Christofias said that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has made steps backwards on governance and on very serious matters of sovereignty.
“I hope that Mr. Eroglu will rethink and correct his positions in order to face the new meeting with Secretary-General in October with a positive perspective for the solution of the problem as soon as possible and the possibility for convening an International Conference which is going to examine the international aspects of the problem”.
Invited to comment on 2.5 million euro loan deal Cyprus is going to conclude with a Russian bank, in a bid to cover its refinancing needs and stimulate growth in the economy, President Christofias said that Cyprus applied to other countries in order to get financed, however Russia offered a big sum of money with a rate of 4.5%.
“If you are a serious leadership, of course you have to close the agreement and we are very close in concluding the agreement”, President said, adding that Russia is not a communist country, but a country with “restored capitalism, a country based on market economy”.
Replying to another question, President said that Cyprus “traditionally supports the right of the Palestinian people to create its own independent state, to have and maintain its own independent state in conditions of security and prosperity”.
“This is our position, I reiterated our position today before the General Assembly”, he went on to say.
Asked about the blast at a naval base last July, occurred in containers full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from “Monchegorsk“, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009, acting in accordance with UN sanctions against Teheran, President said that Cyprus stored the material “trying to be consistent in implementation of UN Security Council resolutions towards the sanctions against Iran”.
“On these resolutions we base our struggle to put an end to an occupation, the colonization by Turkey of the occupied area and the freedom of the Republic of Cyprus, the restoration of human rights”, he noted.
He said that the causes of the explosion-which resulted to the death of 13 people and the damage of the country’s main power plant- will be examined through investigation.
A one-man investigation commission, set up by the government, is examining the circumstances that have led to the massive explosion. Its findings are expected in late September. The police are also carrying out their own investigations into the blast.
Replying to another question about the role of Alexander Downer, UNSG Special Adviser to Cyprus he said that “Alexander Downer is Alexander Downer, he is doing his job, we follow. He controls us, we control him. We are in a daily manner dialogue with Alexander Downer. So we have good relations despite the fact that sometimes we don’t have the same opinion on some matters. This is democracy, this is life and I’m ready to continue the dialogue first of all with Mr. Eroglu, my counter partner under the auspices of the Secretary-General with the presence of his Special Adviser Mr. Alexander Downer”.
Houston-based ‘Noble Energy’, whose drilling rig is already in place, off the island’s southern coast, has begun drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ. The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field, south of Cyprus, known as Block 12.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. 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 they call continental shelf.
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.
UN-led talks are currently underway to reach a negotiated settlement that would reunify the island.