By Staff Reporter
THE Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot negotiators are to travel to South Africa at the initiative of the US at the end of this month to learn about how reconciliation was accomplished there.
According to reports yesterday, the visit to South Africa by Andreas Mavroyiannis and Kudret Ozersay will take place from April 25 to 29.
The negotiators will reportedly listen to the experiences and the views of Roelof Petrus Meyer, who participated in the negotiating team on behalf of the white population and was later given a ministerial position by the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Turkish newspaper Milliyet said yesterday the UN could appoint Meyer as the new Special Adviser for Cyprus to replace Alexander Downer but the UN did not respond to calls yesterday, so confirmation could not be obtained.
In statements to Milliyet, Mavroyiannis reportedly said the two negotiators would travel to South Africa to see what approach was taken towards peace and to share the experiences of those involved.
Ozersay said the visit was organised by the US. He said the two would participate in meetings around the country and listen to the experts.
“We are ready for everything which we think will contribute in the [Cyprus] process,” he said.
Asked to compare South Africa and Cyprus, Ozersay said they were different but they would be looking at negotiating techniques and methods.
He said the visit might ultimately bring about a more healthy dialogue between the two negotiators in Cyprus.
Mavroyiannis and Ozersay were engaged in a public spat last week over the negotiations, centering around a UN document on convergences. Ozersay accused the Greek Cypriot side of trying to renegotiate the convergences, while Mavroyiannis said the document was not on the table.
The two met last on Friday and yesterday held separate meetings with the UN in Nicosia, and will meet each other again tomorrow.
Ozersay said Friday’s three-hour meeting had been positive. “The meeting made me even more optimistic that we can find a way out. It was the longest and most productive meeting yet,” he said afterwards.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu is due to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on April 21.
“My aim is not only to conclude the negotiations process, but to conclude this negotiations process on the principles that have been put forward by the Turkish Cypriots and the National Unity Party. Today everyone in the TRNC is talking about an agreement. We are all searching for a viable and permanent solution,” Eroglu told a gathering on Sunday.
AKEL said yesterday it had received information that Eroglu was about to grant ‘TRNC’ citizenship to 40,000 Turkish settlers in the north. He called on the government to investigate.
Party leader Andros Kyprianou said he had received the information just yesterday morning.
“It is very disturbing and I think it should be investigated by the competent state authorities,” he said.
“If this happens it will be a very negative development and will affect seriously efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.”