President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday that there are “significant” indications that Turkey might be willing, in principle, to discuss the external aspects of the Cyprus problem before the resumption of a new round of peace talks for a Cyprus settlement.
Speaking after a meeting at the presidential palace on the missing persons, Anastasiades said it was important to ensure sufficient preparation prior to negotiations “so that we know exactly the positions of each side, if there is ground or not so that we don’t face the same as in Geneva and Crans-Montana”, he said referring to the collapse of talks in July.
Anastasiades said he considers as important Turkey’s intention in principle to discuss the external aspects of the Cyprus problem, as this was indicated after the recent meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey.
He said that he was always in favour of preparation before the start of a conference on Cyprus, and reiterated that “the impressions created by the (former) UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus were not based on real facts”.
On the move in the north of ‘MPs’ to submit to ‘parliament’ two proposals voting against a bizonal, bicommunal federation, Anastasiades said he understands that these initiatives come from those who never supported such a solution. “It is those people who have pursued the recognition of the illegal regime proclaimed in 1983”, he said.
Anastasiades also said the problem in resolving the missing persons’ issue, lies in “Turkey’s intransigence”. He said that they intentionally moved remains of missing persons and refuse to give information from the Turkish government’s archives to effectively address “one of the humanitarian problems of the Turkish invasion”.
Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Photis Photiou said after the same meeting that authorities in the north had announced they would impose duty on more goods sent as humanitarian aid through the UN, to the enclaved living in the north.
Photiou said that the government is doing “everything that needs to be done” as regards the duty imposed on aid sent to the enclaved. He added that the UN has informed the government that even more items have been put on the list subject to duty.
“Unfortunately, the occupation regime not only it does not allow the transfer of special food items necessary for persons with health problems – this has been conveyed to us by the UN in the most official way – but it expands the list of these goods to include stationary for the schools of Rizokarpaso and equipment or types of medicines necessary for our farmers and beekeepers,” Photiou said.
He said this was confirmed by the UN which said that these goods are now included in the list of goods which will be taxed.
Last month authorities in the north announced that as of October 1 would charge customs duties on goods – drinking water, foodstuff, petrol – carried by the UN to Greek Cypriots living in the north with the rationale that the enclaved do not need the supplies and sell them to Turkish Cypriots. Medicines are not included in the list of items subject to duty.
Entitled to these items are around 340 enclaved persons living in the Karpasia peninsula and the Maronite villages of Kormakitis and Karpashia.