Cyprus and Israel have decided to establish a joint committee on their Mediterranean vision for peace and for the relations between the European Union and all the states in the region.
The decision was announced Thursday by President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, after the conclusion of a meeting he held with President of Israel Shimon Peres, who is currently in Cyprus on a state visit.
”Together with President Peres we have decided to establish a joint committee on our Mediterranean vision for peace and for the relations between the European Union and all the states in the region. This was a very creative proposal on behalf of President Peres and we have accepted it”, President Christofias said.
He expressed hope that ”the realization of our vision will be completed before the Republic of Cyprus assumes the EU Presidency (in the second half of 2012) because this will be very helpful to our EU Presidency”.
The two Presidents also discussed the latest developments in the energy map of the region.
The Cypriot President underlined that the hydrocarbon reserves that have already been confirmed for Israel, and the confirmation of which is expected for the Republic Cyprus, should be utilised in the best possible way for the prosperity of the peoples of the two countries and for peace in the region.
Moreover, he noted that this development opens up new areas for cooperation between the two states.
Stressing that the decision of the Republic of Cyprus to commence drilling in Block 12 in its Exclusive Economic Zone was made in line with international law, he said that ”the reaction by Turkey was and still is outside the acceptable norms of behaviour and beyond any notion of international law”.
Turkey’s reaction, he said, is ”a provocative and aggressive attitude, which contradicts the statements by the Turkish leadership for the promotion of peace in the region and efforts to join the EU”.
He urged the international community to continue to send a strong message to Turkey that it must respect international law and stop violating it through its actions.
Referring to their tete-a-tete meeting and in the talks with the participation of both delegations, he said they discussed the Cyprus problem the Middle East issue, the economy and other issues of mutual concern.
Regarding the Cyprus problem, he said he briefed President Peres on the results of last weekend’s meeting in New York with the UN Secretary-General and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
”I reiterated that we do not accept artificial timeframes or arbitration in the framework of this procedure”, he said, adding that ”I stressed that despite the provocative behaviour of Turkey, the continuing occupation of 37% of our territory as well as the colonization, our side attends the negotiations with a constructive spirit and the will for substantive discussion”.
President Christofias noted that ”our goal remains the achievement of a just, viable and functional solution that will reunify the country, its people, its institutions and economy, based on the principles of international law and under a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality, as stated in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council”.
He reiterated that despite the difficulties, he intends to exhaust all possibilities, with the goal of reunifying Cyprus on the basis of a solution that will provide for a state with a single and indivisible sovereignty, international personality and citizenship, a state where all human rights are fully respected and its and legitimate citizens will prosper.
Moreover, he said they exchanged views on the peace process in the Middle East, noting that the Republic of Cyprus supports the 23 September 2011 Quartet statement, and considers that it is the only way to resume and revive the peace process and achieve a solution in the Middle East.
”A solution”, he added, ”that must be based on United Nations resolutions, on the respect of independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of states in the region, including, of course, the State of Israel, a solution that would create an independent Palestinian state, which can and must coexist peacefully with the State of Israel”
Furthermore, he reiterated the readiness of the Republic of Cyprus to contribute in the efforts for peace, taking advantage of its good relations with all parties involved.
The two Presidents also discussed the course of the world economy.
Referring to their bilateral relations, he expressed certainty that Peres’ visit, the second official visit at the highest level between the two countries in 2011, ”is a proof of the deepening and broadening of relations between the two countries”.
”It is our shared view that, recently, our bilateral relations have been further strengthened”, he concluded.
— Copyright © Famagusta Gazette 2011