Delegation of the European Union to Mozambique

Cyprus: Remarks by HR/VP Josep Borrell in the EP Plenary on actions by Turkey in Varosha

Brussels, 24/11/2020 - 16:36, UNIQUE ID: 201124_18

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Muito obrigado Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

Let there be no doubt: respecting the status of Varosha, as set out in relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, is of paramount importance.

Our [EU] Heads of State and Government have made this point, the European Union Foreign Ministers are following the situation closely, and the United Nations Security Council has held a closed hearing to the same effect last month. We are all deeply concerned about developments on the ground.

On the 13 October 2020, I issued a Declaration on behalf of the European Union and called for the immediate reversal of recent actions and for respect of relevant United Nations Security Council [Resolutions].

Like the United Nations, the European Union holds Turkey responsible for the situation on the ground.

These recent events around Varosha – when I was young it was called Famagusta – including President Erdogan’s visit and statements, come at a time when attempts are underway to create space for dialogue on Cyprus settlement issues and on the wider Eastern Mediterranean.

We are passing this message clearly to our Turkish interlocutors. I have also passed it personally to the new Turkish Cypriot leader in a phone call I had with him immediately after his election. This is the time to support United Nations Secretary-General [António] Guterres in his efforts to resume the Cyprus settlement talks. Spreading distrust and stoking tensions will help no-one.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus must be given full freedom of movement in Varosha to monitor the situation in accordance with its mandate.

Mr President, Honourable Members,

You can be sure that the European Union institutions are fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, and to a reunification based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, within the United Nations framework and in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded.

We stand ready to play an active role in supporting these negotiations and finding lasting solutions. For us, a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships among all partners in the region, bilaterally and multilaterally, is in our strategic interest.

As you know, the European Council will assess the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and our relations with Turkey in December, in view of the mandate to pursue preparatory work on the tracks set out in the 1st of October European Council Conclusions.

To finish with this short intervention, Mr President, Honourable Members,
You may therefore rest assured that Varosha, Famagusta, is and will remain high on our collective agenda, to help ensure that the United Nations Security Council Resolutions are respected in full by all actors.

Thank you Mr President.

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Closing remarks

Thank you Ms President, thank you to all the Members [of the European Parliament] for this debate, in some moments passionate.

I understand the reasons, but I am in charge of trying to look for solutions and I am trying to do so. Nobody is bowing, but we have to continue reaching out with Turkey.

The European Union Council during its next meeting will have to take important decisions about our relationship with Turkey. They [EU leaders] decided to do so at their last meeting.

Certainly, we are in a critical moment in our relationship with Turkey, but you can be sure that the European Union is on the side of Cyprus and Greece.

[The EU] supports the speedy resumption of the Cyprus settlement talks, under the auspices of the United Nations and is fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions.

This is our position and we will continue engaging diplomatically with Turkey in order to try [to look for] an attitude that could contribute to this objective.

This is my role, I am being paid for that and all the [European] External Action Service works in this direction. It does not mean that we are bowing, we are just trying to engage on diplomatic activities and prepare the European Union Council and the leaders will have to take a decision.

It is not up to me now to say what is it going to be, if there are going to be sanctions or not. This is the European Union Council who will discuss it and I will work hard to prepare this discussion in order to take the decision that politically the leaders of the European Union will decide to take. And we will continue discussing about it for sure.

Thank you.

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