Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides on Monday called on Germany to help the island overcome its decades-old division, as Berlin maintains good relations with fellow NATO member Turkey.
Christodoulides discussed the issue in a meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who became the first German president to visit Nicosia on Monday.
“Our message is that the solution is in Ankara,” Christodoulides said after the meeting.
Steinmeier said Turkey’s actions on the island of Cyprus should be taken into account when assessing its overall relationship with the European Union.
“Member states must send this message to Turkey,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
What is Germany’s position?
The island of Cyprus was divided into a Greek-Cypriot south and a Turkish-Cypriot north after a Greek-backed coup followed by a Turkish military intervention in 1974. The southern part is recognized worldwide while only Turkey recognized the northern part as a state. .
Steinmeier said Germany supports a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN parameters.
“It is high time to work with new courage on a solution to the Cyprus question,” Steinmeier said.
The two leaders welcomed a move by the United Nations to recently appoint a new special envoy to start talks to overcome the division. Previous talks collapsed in 2017.
“We in Germany, at least, are available to support the UN-led negotiation process and to promote confidence-building measures,” Steinmeier said.
Migration is also on the agenda
The two leaders also discussed reducing the number of refugees crossing the Mediterranean, including designating certain areas within Syria as safe zones.
“I do not consider not addressing the situation inside Syria as an appropriate option for the European Union,” Christodoulides said.
While Christodoulides thanked Steinmeier for his country’s decision to voluntarily accept 1,000 asylum-seekers from Cyprus.
zc/lo (dpa, Reuters)