Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

As you know, the Special Meeting of the European Council on the strategic relationship between the EU and Turkey and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean was completed early this morning.

During the long duration of the Session an extensive discussion took place about ways of creating a climate that would allow for a partnership relationship between the EU and Turkey based on the principles and values of the Union and also on international law.

The unanimous position, and I want to stress this, of all the leaders was that the requirement for this, that its, a partnership relationship,  is the termination of the unlawful activities of Turkey against the sovereign rights of Cyprus and Greece that are contrary to International Law.

On issues of methodology and tactics that should be adopted, various propositions were put forward, including the immediate imposition of sanctions or giving instead room to diplomacy through initiatives to be taken by the President of the Council and the country having the EU Presidency, with relevant decisions reserved for the Session of the next European Council summit in December at the latest in case of failure.

As expressly stated in paragraph 20 of the Conclusions “ In case of renewed unilateral actions or provocations in breach of international law, the EU will use all the instruments and the options at its disposal, including in accordance with Article 29 of the Treaty of the EU and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, in order to defend its interests and those of its Member States.”

As I had stated before leaving Cyprus, sanctions were nor and are not an end to themselves. What comes first is putting a stop to the unlawful actions of Turkey and creating a positive climate, in order to pave the way for a productive dialogue in search for a definitive solution of the Cyprus problem.

Following consultations and weighing the possible benefits from the initiatives being undertaken, and after our interventions for the protection of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, and those of Greece of course, had become collectively accepted by the EU, we decided by consensus that the weight of responsibility and the options now clearly shift to Turkey.

I want to express my satisfaction at the results of the Session, since in the text of the Conclusions Turkey is called upon to:
A. Refrain from unilateral actions which violate International Law, thus confirming the full solidarity of the EU Council for Greece and Cyprus, whose sovereignty and sovereign rights must be respected.
B. Condemns and at the same time calls on Turkey to stop and refrain in the future from violating the rights of the Republic of Cyprus.
C. Calls on Turkey to accept the invitation of Cyprus to take part in a dialogue for the delimitation of the maritime zones between Cyprus and Turkey based on International Law.
D. At the same time the Council expresses support for the speedy resumption of the negotiations and remains committed to a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions and in accordance with the principles of the EU, while at the same time calling on Turkey to respond in the same way. Towards this end, the EU voices its readiness to actively contribute to the support of the negotiations by appointing a representative to a new Session for Cyprus.
E. Special reference is made to the need for respect of the UN Security Council  Resolutions  550 (1984) and 789 (1992) concerning the return of Varosha to its legitimate owners and inhabitants.
F. A clear condition is made that in order for a positive EU-Turkey agenda to get under way, the illegal activities against Greece and Cyprus should be terminated.

I must confess that the discussion and the conclusion on a unanimous decision were not as easy as we would have wanted them to be. There were diverging opinions to the point of tension in expressing those desirable clauses needed to articulate the full solidarity and determination of the EU for the latter to support such initiatives as to thwart Turkey’s unlawful actions.  In spite of everything, I am satisfied because through constant, effective diplomacy over a period of months, the decision creates on an institutional basis – and I wish to underline this – the prospect of pursuing the effort having the EU on our side, indeed playing a leading role with initiatives for the termination of the illegal actions and, most important, for the resumption of the talks.

All the requirements are on the table and now Turkey must decide on what to do or which road to take.

Finally, I would like to express special thanks to the Greek Prime Minister for his strong support and also the other leaders for the support and resolve they displayed in defending the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and Greece, which are the sovereign rights of the Union itself.