Cyprus Mail

Focus on confidence building measures

By Jean Christou

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for 30 minutes last night on the sidelines of the EU-Africa summit in Brussels.

Anastasiades, said he had outlined for the Secretary-General differences both sides had on the joint declaration and told him of the proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side.

He told Ban that the Greek Cypriot side would accept no Turkish Cypriot proposals or motions that were contrary to UN resolutions, nor derogations from the EU acquis.

He also brought up the issue of confidence-building measures (CBM), “I reiterated that essentially CBMs would contribute significantly to a change in the climate reinforce the process,” Anastasiades said.

The main CBM mooted by the Greek Cypriot side is the return of the fenced off ghost town of Varosha, something the Turkish side is so far insisting can only be part of a comprehensive settlement.

Anastasiades told Ban the Greek Cypriot side was currently at the stage of filing proposals after which the next stage would be a detailed examination of all proposals from both sides, and only then could the talks move on to the give-and-take phase. He said Ban was understanding and said he was aware of the problems.

The leaders had their second meeting on Monday but while the Greek Cypriot side has not complained about the pace of the talks, the Turkish side has not stopped.

Fully-fledged negotiations began on February 11 but the leaders have met only twice, while their negotiators meet once a week.

The message to speed up was being imparted yesterday by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, his chief negotiator Kudret Ozersay and the north’s ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami.
In a closed-door meeting of ‘parliament’, which lasted over six hours, Eroglu briefed Turkish Cypriot politicians on the talks.

He said he was seeking more frequent meetings between Ozersay and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Andreas Mavroyiannis, and between the leaders themselves.

Nami said the current set-up, with the negotiators meeting only once a week, was not enough. “Expectations are high on both sides. Both peoples are ready but in spite of all these, time is still needed for the process of give-and-take,” he said.

Ozersay, who left for Moscow yesterday for contacts with the Russian foreign ministry, was quoted as saying people’s desire for a solution should be reflected in the pace of the talks.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu imparted the same message in separate meetings this week with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Minister William Hague.

“We want to speed up negotiations,” Davutoglu was quoted as saying. “The momentum right now is very positive but it is important to focus on the result.”

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