20 December, 2006
India will always support the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as a solution of the Cyprus issue in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, said here Tuesday new High Commissioner of India Lavanya Prasad, presenting her credentials to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
"India will always support the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus. On behalf of the Government and the people of India, I can assure Your Excellency that in the future also, Cyprus will find in India a steadfast friend and an unwavering support for these principles", she stressed.
Prasad said that her country "understands the democratic choice exercised by Cyprus in the April 2004 referendum, and hopes that a just and lasting solution will be found to the Cyprus problem in accordance with UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the people of Cyprus".
Accepting the credentials, Cyprus President said that the recent policy of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots "does not aim at reunifying Cyprus, but at upgrading the regime in the occupied areas into that of a separate legal entity in Cyprus, short of diplomatic recognition - a separate state within a state".
"This is a core issue in the process for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and this is an outcome to which we will never agree. This is why we are so sensitive to any act or gesture by friendly governments and their representatives of upgrading the regime and its functionaries in the occupied areas, which willingly or unwillingly, or even symbolically, can be used by the Turkish regime to enhance its status as a separate legal entity within Cyprus", he stressed.
Referring to Turkey's EU accession course, President Papadopoulos reiterated that Cyprus continues to support the European perspective of Turkey, provided that the Turkish government fulfils all the contractual obligations it has undertaken vis-à-vis the EU and its member states.
A first step towards this direction, he added, would be for Turkey to proceed without further delay with the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, the opening of its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels, as well as the termination of its blocking of Cyprus' membership to international and regional organizations.
"Cyprus will be considering its stand as to the opening of each chapter in the light of the attitude of Turkey to perform its obligations towards the European Union and Cyprus in the European and other fora", President Papadopoulos noted.
EU member state, Cyprus, is divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of its territory.
Turkey, aspiring to enter the EU, refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol by opening its ports to Cyprus. As a result, the EU has imposed sanctions against Ankara due to its stance towards Cyprus and decided to freeze eight negotiating chapters until Turkey fulfills its EU obligation and implements the Protocol.
Source: Athens News Agency