Former Greek FM urges end to 'blame games' over Cyprus

Greece, Turkey and Cyprus can become an axis of stability in a troubled region, according to former foreign minister of Greece, Theodora Bakoyannis.

Former Greek FM urges end to 'blame games' over Cyprus

Former Greek foreign minister Theodora Bakoyannis has called for an end to the "blame games" over the Cyprus dispute, saying the focus instead should be on finding ways on how to reunify the divided island.   

Addressing a conference on Greek-Turkish relations in capital Ankara, Bakoyannis said Greece was committed to reaching a just and viable solution for the reunification of Cyprus.

"It is the Cyprus issue that has gradually poisoned the entire Greco-Turkish relationship since the mid-fifties; and it is the Cyprus problem again which, if solved, will become a catalyst for the spectacular improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey," she said.

Referring to the complaints of the Turkish Cypriots over the Greek side’s rejection of the Annan plan, she said, "playing blame games is easy [...] this is about finding a real solution to a real problem."

The Annan Plan was a UN proposal to resolve the Cyprus dispute by restructuring the island as the "United Republic of Cyprus." In effect, it proposed a federation of two states that aimed to unify the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities.

The proposal was revised five times before it was put to a referendum in April 2004. It was supported by 65% of Turkish Cypriots. However, only 24% of Greek Cypriots supported the plan.

The former foreign minister also said the recent developments in the region perplexed her.

She was referring to the incident when Turkey sent a warship in early October to monitor a Greek Cypriot oil-and-gas exploration mission off the coast of Cyprus, which led to the suspension of peace talks by the Greek-Cypriot administration on October 7.

Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot government have strongly opposed any unilateral move by the Greek-Cypriot administration to explore any hydrocarbon resources around the island.

"Let me remind you that Cyprus is a member of the UN and the EU. Pretending it does not exist cannot be a solid basis of any negotiation,” she said.

Bakoyannis said "the solution is within our grasp," and the three countries could become an "axis of stability in a troubled region."

"There can honestly be no greater boost to the whole process, no better way to revitalize the negotiation than a timely solution with Turkey’s and Greece’s help," she said.

"It is high time for Cyprus to become what is best for all of us to be: a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, possessing sovereignty and capable of advancing the well-being of all her citizens."

The negotiations between the Turkish and Greek sides had resumed last February after a two-year pause. The previous round of talks had collapsed because of the Eurozone debt crisis and the Greek Cypriot side's turn to occupy the EU presidency in 2012.

The island of Cyprus has remained divided into Greek and Turkish zones since a Greek-Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid the Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.

The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the EU. It is internationally recognized except by Turkey, which remains the only country that recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

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Last Mod: 23 Ekim 2014, 23:50
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