"Restrained optimism," that the upcoming trilateral meeting in Berlin on November 25 will lead to progress on the Cyprus issue was expressed by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency released on Sunday.
"The expectations must be considered hopeful but there is reservation, which does not concern the Greek-Cypriot side but the processes unfolding within the Turkish-Cypriot community and Ankara's intervention," he explained.
Commenting on Turkish provocativeness in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and whether he feared that Ankara will further escalate this with possible military operations, Anastasiades underlined that the Cyprus Republic desires the non-militarisation of the dispute. He admitted that the challenges were major but said that the Greek-Cypriot position was one of "calm and correct handling based on international law."
Anastasiades added that the Cyprus Republic was protected by the agreements it has signed for the delineation of its EEZ with Egypt, Israel and Lebanon, based on the Treaty for the Law of the Sea, pointing out that "what Turkey wants to establish as a fait accompli is unlawful."
Asked about the stance adopted by United States and Russia on the Cyprus issue, Anastasiades said he was satisfied by the "clear statement that they support the Cyprus Republic's sovereign rights in its EEZ", while adding: "Beyond this, we need to take into account the balances, goals and interests. I believe, however, that neither the one or the other [of the two countries] would allow a repetition of something similar to either the [Cyprus invasion of 1974] or something similar to what happened in Syria."
Cyprus' president also spoke about his cooperation with the present Greek government, following his meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last Wednesday, noting that this was excellent, as it had been with previous Greek governments. He expressed satisfaction with the results of his talks in Athens and noted that Athens and Nicosia appear to be proceeding with "precisely the same planning and views, the same strategic goals and the Greek government's unlimited solidarity in support of our efforts."
He also commented on his own statements that political leadership must lead and not be swayed by the emotional outbursts of the people, noting that there had been occasions in the past where such emotional responses had defeated efforts to solve the Cyprus issue.
"For this reason, I have often said that a leader must not be guided by the people but guide the people ... determination and courage are needed, so that when the conditions require and demand it, you can make decisions that might not be popular but will be beneficial," he said.