New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Ahead of the upcoming visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to India, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday asked India to tell Turkey that the status quo on the territorial dispute on his island is unacceptable.
“We look to friends and allies such as India to convey the message to Turkey that the status quo is unacceptable, and that it needs to engage constructively and actively in the efforts underway,” he said while delivering a keynote address at India Trilateral Forum organised by Observer Research Foundation on the ‘EU-India strategic partnership in the 21st century: a Cyprus perspective’.
“India has been a long-standing, reliable ally in our efforts to reunify Cyprus and its people through a comprehensive settlement,” he said.
The northern part of the Mediterranean island country is under Turkish occupation in 1974.
“Peace in Cyprus will send a strong message to our fragile region and beyond, and will be to the benefit not only of Cyprus and its people, but also to Turkey, the EU, and the region,” he added.
Erdogan will arrive here on April 30 on a two-day state visit to India.
Terming India and the EU “natural partners” and their strong economic links, Anastasiades said their relationship is well beyond its infancy and it is “now our task to see this relationship into full maturity.”
On the security challenges faced by both India and EU, he said: “Cyprus, and indeed the EU, stand with India as staunch supporters of a comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
“Like India, we are fully aware of the fact that terrorist networks are global and require a unified response,” he said.
“In places like Afghanistan, India and the EU can forge closer cooperation for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan and for the cause of peace and stability in the region.”
Supporting the Free Trade agreement between India and EU, Anastasiades said it “will provide the space for EU Member States to maximise their bilateral engagement with India, in all possible sectors of economic activity.”
“FTA will help Cyprus seize the opportunity to engage actively with India in sectors like renewable energy, most notably in solar energy and natural gas, in shipping and financial services,” he said, welcoming Indian firms to explore business opportunities in Cyprus.
Anastasiades is paying India a state visit from April 25 to 29.
On April 28, he will be accorded ceremonial welcome and will participate in delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.