Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades wants PM Modi’s help to unify North and South Cyprus

President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi if there is any way he can help in his country’s efforts to reunify the northern and southern parts of Cyprus, he told a group of visiting journalists on Friday.

This he will seek when he visits New Delhi from April 25, with four ministers and a strong business delegation.

In an interaction in the presidential palace, he explained the rationale by saying, “Those who are closely connected with Turkey can give us the strongest hand in our efforts.”

Hard to predict ::

Although President Anastasiades felt it was too early to predict how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan might behave as regards the Cyprus question, he said, “At the same time of course, we shall ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi if he has any kind of possibility to intervene on the Cyprus question. The Indian government supports us on the basis of the U.N. resolution. It is going to be very welcome — any initiative by the Indian government.”

President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, have been engaged in a dialogue to find a solution.

“Myself and Mustafa, we can find a solution,” he declared. “We are pro-solution leaders. We can solve it in two or three months maximum. But there are limitations, impossible limitations,” he said, alluding to Turkish pressures.

President Erdogan in a recent referendum that gave him sweeping powers has emerged an even stronger, if unpredictable presence in the region, Cypriot politicians feel.

In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus, overran parts of it and has since stationed troops in the north. There is a ceasefire line that cuts across Cyprus, monitored by U.N. troops.

But, President Anastasiades stressed, “if they [New Delhi] are not in a position [to intervene] we are not going to ask something that harms the interest of India.”

His remarks assume importance considering the Turkish leader Erdogan will be in New Delhi following at the heels of the visit of President Anastasiades.

President Anastasiades also outlined to the visiting journalists how Cyprus could further India’s interest, both in Cyprus and in the region.

Promises concessions ::

He said, “We can play a constructive role in speaking to our partners to give the most favourable treatment for India.” Cyprus is looking for India’s help in developing a technology park along the lines of Silicon Valley, the President said.

“The very first thing I will be asking is whether there are people who can help us in knowledge and know-how.”

“I am going to lead a business delegation. They will see how they can attract investments,” he said.

Cyprus is pitching itself as both an investment destination and as a bridge to both Europe and the Gulf region, given both its location as well as its relations with the countries in the region. India used Cyprus’s help to help evacuate its citizens from Lebanon in 2006, for instance.

“We are members of the Commonwealth as well as the European Union and so we might be quite helpful for Indian interests [in this region]. We can play a constructive role in encouraging our partners to give the most favourable treatment to India,” President Anastasiades said. He stressed, “India is not a threat to any of her neighbours. India is a stabilising factor.”

Cyprus supports India in its bid to enter the UN Security Council as a permanent member. It supports India’s efforts on the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Cyprus has consistently spoken in favour of India in various international fora on Kashmir. The President’s visit is likely to see further steps being taken to deepen the bilateral engagement.

By: The Hindu

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