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‘Significant distance between the two sides’

Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides

THE Turkish side is attempting to present a rosy picture of the state of play in the Cyprus negotiations, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said.

In a speech he gave in London on Tuesday evening to an audience of British parliamentarians and UK Cypriots at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Kasoulides said there was a “significant distance” between the two sides on many issues.

“Therefore, any attempt to present a rosy picture of the current state of play of the negotiations is only smokescreen to mask the maximalistic positions that the Turkish Cypriot side submits to the negotiating table,” said the minister.

With regard to the future of the negotiations, said that on May 6 an in-depth discussion and negotiations on each individual chapter would start.

As far as the EU was concerned, Kasoulides said the Turkish Cypriot side was against greater involvement of the bloc in the Cyprus process. “At the same time, though, they are attempting to give the impression that they are holding, as a separate entity, direct negotiations with the European Commission,” he said.

Kasoulides said that while Cyprus supports the familiarisation of the Turkish Cypriot community with the EU and the acquis, it must be done in a way that does not imply recognition of breakaway regime in the north.

He also spoke of the “strong, pragmatic and deeply founded relationship of decisive potential, based on reciprocity,” between Cyprus and the UK.

“The excellent relationship that our two countries enjoy was reaffirmed last January during the official visit of President Anastasiades to London and the Joint Communiqué that was issued following the meeting with Prime Minister Cameron,” he said.

“On the bilateral front, our relationship is entering a phase of revival, as we focus in investing in areas of practically mutual value, such as long term growth, energy cooperation, boosting tourism, encouraging entrepreneurial initiatives and public sector reform.”

The event was organised by the World Federation of Young Cypriots Abroad (NEPOMAK) and British MPs, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Cyprus’ accession to the EU.

Among those who attended were MPs, Sir Roger Gale, Sir Alan Meale, Gareth Thomas, David Burrowes, Jim Sheridan, Simon Hughes, Jim Dobbin, Julian Huppert, Sir Gerald Kaufman and Ian Lavery. Also present were the Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis and the Cypriot High Commissioner Evripides Evriviades. (CNA)

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