NEWS

Greater hope for Cyprus reconciliation

Has the election of Dimitris Christofias changed the situation on Cyprus? France is a friend of Cyprus and we support President Christofias’s efforts to move toward reconciliation. Today a new hope has arisen thanks to the resumption of talks between the two communities in Cyprus, with new working groups and committees. Within the framework of that process, Cyprus’s leaders have made courageous commitments, which I welcome. I encourage them to continue with their efforts with the utmost determination with the sole aim of their communities’ prosperity, in a Cyprus that is fairly reunified, in a bizonal and bicommunal state. The talks should now bear fruit because that is the wish of the people that live in Cyprus. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will France support a fresh effort that is not based on the Annan proposal? France will make every possible effort to help the two sides find a solution, both at the UN Security Council and during its EU presidency. What is the purpose of the «Mediterranean Union»? The Union for the Mediterranean, which we will launch on July 13 in Paris, is in my opinion necessary to secure our countries’ future. The fate of the countries on the northern and southern coasts of the Mediterranean are inextricably linked. That is why we must build our future together. Providing our southern neighbors with a future development that is sustainable is the best guarantee of their stability, therefore of our own security. In no other part of the world is there such a wide economic gap between a developed region and its neighboring countries as there is between these two coasts of the sea that is, after all, the cradle of our civilization. In the long term, this situation cannot remain as it is. The planned Union for the Mediterranean aims to link the 27 states of the European Union and the Mediterranean states in a spirit of cooperation. The goal is to implement the method of Jean Monnet, that is, of project-based solidarity. By promoting cooperation between states in very specific programs that have a direct bearing on their people, we will guarantee rapprochement between the peoples of the region. The European Commission and many states have already done important preparatory work. From the outset, Greece has provided its support to the plan. Its help has been decisive and I am very thankful for that. What could these specific projects consist of? That is something that must be discussed among all partners, but already some issues have arisen, such as sea depollution, the development of sea routes and renewable sources of energy, the streamlining of cooperation in dealing with natural disasters. We have to move ahead without being obstructed by outdated concepts. What would Turkey’s role be in such a union? Turkey is a large Mediterranean country and a major player in the region. It is a geographical crossroads in the heart of the Mediterranean but also a bridge between the countries of the region. If it so wishes, Turkey can play a decisive role in the future Union for the Mediterranean. Personally, I would like it to become an important part of this common effort.