Turkey's behaviour on Cyprus issue affects EU approach, German President says

It must regularly be made clear to Turkey that its behaviour towards the solution of the Cyprus issue also affects other issues of Turkey such as its approach to the EU, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has stressed.

He was speaking on 12 February, in Nicosia, where he is paying the first official visit of a German President to Cyprus. 

The German President, who encouraged all parties involved to show the necessary readiness for compromise on the Cyprus issue, was speaking through an interpreter at a joint press conference with President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides at the Presidential Palace.

The Cypriot President stressed that the EU can play a more active role in the Cyprus issue as it has the necessary tools to do so. Nicosia, he added, is a  supporter of closer relations between the EU and Turkey, pointing out that those relations go through the developments and the solution of the Cyprus issue.

President Christodoulides said he hoped that the first official visit of a German President to Cyprus will contribute to further strengthening the relations between the two countries.

German President Frank Walter Steinmeier_Christodoulides_2

"This year marks 35 years since the fall of Berlin wall. It is my hope and aspiration that we will soon be able to celebrate the reunification of Cyprus, Nicosia, the last divided capital of Europe," the Cypriot President stressed.

They discussed, he added, bilateral relations, regional developments, energy, the European agenda, and the Cyprus issue.

Regarding immigration, he thanked Germany for the voluntary acceptance of more than 1,000 asylum seekers from Cyprus and said that more must be done in Europe not only through funding but through addressing the root causes.  He also said that the issue of Syria should be opened, areas should be examined as to whether they are safe to enable returns.

President Christodoulides referred to the energy sector saying that technical support will be requested from Germany for storage of energy with batteries.

Steinmeier said that "Besides the 20-year anniversary of Cyprus joining the EU, this year we also have the events of 1974, 50 years of de facto division. It is time to work towards a solution to the Cyprus issue and I warmly welcome the fact that President Christodoulides sets progress as a priority and I would like to clearly state that Germany supports a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution to the Cyprus issue based on the UN parameters", adding that the Cypriot President has the UN support and that Germany and the other EU countries will support the UN.

He also said that Germany will send for the first time German police officers to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

There is great impetus as regards our relations, he said and referred to the fields of defence and energy.

Regarding the crisis in the Middle East, he said that "Cyprus for us and for the whole of Europe is a safe harbour in the region" and thanked Cyprus for the help it offered to remove German nationals from the area.

Steinmeier visited Nicosia Town Hall on the morning of 12 February, as part of his two-day official visit to Cyprus.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The German President, accompanied by the President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides, arrived at 11.30 am (local time) at Nicosia Town Hall, where they were welcomed by the Mayor of Nicosia Constantinos Yiorkadjis.

Steinmeier then greeted the members of the City Council and headed to the top floor of the building, where, facing the skyline of the old city, both the free and the occupied parts, he was explained the various points constituting the Green Line.

Nicosia mayor German President Christodoulides

A walking tour of the streets around the town hall followed afterwards, during which Yiorkadjis referred to the start-up community that has developed within the walled part of the city, while President Christodoulides made short stops at the barricades and the outpost they encountered along the way, explaining their history and current configuration.

In addition, the three men had a brief discussion with members of the CYENS Centre of Excellence, whose building is located just behind Nicosia Town Hall and in which the Municipality is participating as a partner.

After completing the tour, Steinmeier departed with the other members of the German delegation for the remainder of his programme.

(Source: CNA)

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