Cyprus Mail

Time of the essence on Varosha, says Kasoulides

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Friday that the give-and-take part of the Cyprus talks would probably begin next month.

In an interview with London Greek Radio, Kasoulides also said that the ghost town of Varosha should be returned prior to a referendum on a solution as part of confidence building measures. Time was running out, he said, because there were a lot of factors to take into account, such as reconstruction and infrastructure work, which take time.

The fenced off area of Famagusta must be returned to UN administration prior to the referenda, which would take place once an agreement is reached.

He also said if Turkey wished to see its closed chapter with the EU opened, it should act accordingly, Kasoulides said. No chapters would be opened “for free”.

On the talks themselves, he said the first meetings have been completed and those to come would be looking at the how close or how far the two sides were on different issues.

“The next step I believe will be to attempt to approach these differences or reduce these differences, and that is expected to be in April,” he said.

Talks resumed on February 11. The two leaders are set to hold their second meeting at the end of March while their negotiators usually meet twice a week at the UN Protected Area in Nicosia.

Their latest meeting was on Friday, lasting two and a half hours.

They will meet again on March 24.

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