IT WAS high time Greek Cypriots understood that the solution to the Cyprus problem would be a bicommunal, bizonal federation, President Christofias said yesterday.
“It was decided in 1977 and 1979 that we would have a painful solution and that will be a bicommunal, bizonal federation, which will change our lives,” Christofias told a ‘state of the union’ news conference.
“It’s high time people started to understand that in Cyprus we are going to have a federation. I hope we are going to understand this eventually.”
Christofias said some quarters on the Greek Cypriot side did not wish to have a federal solution. This was evident, he said.
Greek Cypriots needed to understand that they are partners with Turkish Cypriots since 1960. “Unfortunately foreign intervention and chauvinist elements on both sides didn’t let that work,’ he said.
Christofias said he has the support of the political parties for new negotiations with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, despite reservations from some individual quarters in the Greek Cypriot political arena.
“I don’t have a Plan B. I want you to know this,” said Christofias. “And I want to believe Mr Talat doesn’t have a Plan B either. We will continue the effort to start direct talks. There is no alternative solution,” he added.
The two leaders are due to meet again on July 25 when they will decide whether to go ahead and start negotiations.
“There is no deadline for starting talks. We tried time limits and deadlines in 2004 and both communities have bitter experiences of that,” said the President.
He said the clarification of the negotiating basis for new talks, as set down in the leaders’ agreements of March 21, May 23 and July 1 was an important way forward.
“This means two constituent states with equal status and regimes. There have been some efforts to misinterpret this,” he said.
“The basis for talks is clear, unless you want to play with words. It’s clear we are going to have one state with one sovereignty.”
Christofias also credited Talat for the positive developments but said he was not willing to bend over backwards either for the Turkish Cypriot leader who has been facing heavy criticism over the sovereignty issue.
“I can’t facilitate Mr Talat by going against my principles and I told him too. Each one has his own struggle,” said Christofias.
“We hear complaints about Christofias criticising Turkey. I want to make it clear the critics will just have to get used to that. We have an occupation. Turkey is the key for a solution. We do have a say because our fate is interwoven with that happens there,” he added referring to the current crisis there.
The President said the obstacles ahead were many, complicated and complex but said his government had fulfilled its pledge to end the stagnation of the last five years.
Mobility, dialogue, prospects for the commencement of talks, dialogue with Talat, international interest and the reversal of the negative climate against Greek Cypriots were evidence of his commitment to his election promises, the President said.
“The results so far justify our policy,” he added. “If I don’t take steps forward we will remain stagnant.”
By Jean Christou, 9/7/08 , Cyprus Mail 2008