Germany ready to contribute to Cyprus issue efforts, Scholz says (2)

Germany continues to support a federal solution in Cyprus on the basis of UN decisions, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday, noting that his country is ready to contribute to the efforts of the Cyprus issue and that all parties involved must have good will. The German Chancellor, who welcomed President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides in Berlin, on his first official visit to the country, said that Germany "continues to support a solution in which Cyprus will become a federal state, bizonal, where the two communities will be represented in the leadership of the state on the basis of UN decisions." "Therefore, I would like the impasse of the negotiation process to finally gain new momentum," he added. Speaking through an intepreter, the German Chancellor said that "that, however, requires political courage on the part of all involved, and I don't know whether the will is there by all sides." "We talked about it and we want to help. Germany is ready to contribute so that everyone gains more trust in each other and if this is desired we are happy to support this negotiation process." Referring to the Eastern Mediterranean, Scholz said that Germany would like good neighbourly relations, noting that the issues in the region can be resolved through dialogue and on the basis of international law. "After all, the relations between Cyprus and Turkey are important for the whole of Europe," he said. The German Chancellor said that it was very important to have a personal contact with President Christodoulides and that he was pleased to see the readiness of the Republic of Cyprus to restart the process adding that now he ha a clearer picture of the Cyprus issue which he will convey to the rest of his EU counterparts, in order to deepen the debate. He added that Germany is ready to take responsibilities if asked. He also said that they agreed to cooperate even more closely in the future on issues including energy supply and defence cooperation. In his statements, President Christodoulides said that they discussed bilateral relations, European issues and the Cyprus issue, noting that he reiterated his readiness to resume the talks from where they left off in Crans Montana in 2017. "The Cyprus problem is a European problem and its solution directly affects the EU as well," he stressed. Christodoulides also said that "Germany as one of the most important EU member states can contribute to this effort." He added that now is the time for diplomacy to work and that Germany's role is important. President Christodoulides noted that the discussion was very constructive and, among other things, thanked Germany for helping Cyprus deal with the immigration problem, saying that Germany is one of the few EU countries that understands the issue. He added that Germany accepted 230 persons from Cyprus while until June it will accept 860 more. CNA asked both the Cypriot President and the German Chancellor to comment on Turkey's provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean and what is expected from a new government in Turkey. President Christodoulides said that "we are indeed in a difficult region, with many problems, many challenges. But at the same time, we know that we cannot change the geography. But, we have - and that's why we're here - to submit proposals, recommendations, to take initiatives to solve all the problems that exist," adding that "and there are many". He said that he came to Germany because the country plays a decisive role both in the Greek-Turkish relations and as regards Cyprus saying that when there was a violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its Exclusive Economic Zone, Germany played a decisive role in ending these actions. "We are here with proposals, concrete initiatives, a positive approach to resolve these problems," he pointed out. Regarding the elections in Turkey, the President of the Republic said that "we certainly do not want an escalation, whatever the result and the election, it will be fully respected and what we want to convey is our readiness to work together, to cooperate on the basis of a positive approach and always within the international framework that must be fully respected." The German Chancellor replied that his country wishes to lay the foundations for good neighbourly relations adding "we will contribute so that we can have success and I hope that we can finally have some progress." "I would like to say once again that I am very happy for the very high importance that the President attributes to the solution of the Cyprus problem and how exactly we could approach the issue of good neighborhood on this and support our efforts," he said. In addition to the Cyprus issue, they also discussed bilateral relations, both expressing willingness to strengthen them, as well as immigration, energy, the Eastern Mediterranean, Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. The German Chancellor referring to the Ukrainian issue stressed that Cyprus and Germany are 'on the same side' while President Christodoulides said that the Republic of Cyprus rejects violations of international law and territorial integrity and fulfills all obligations regarding sanctions on Russia, while some other countries do not. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency