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Cyprus

EU needs to be more involved

President Anastasides stressed the need for more active EU participation in the Cyprus talks

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades yesterday called on EU ambassadors to send a message to Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu that all issues were not discussed at the talks, they would not move on to the third phase.

According to Cyprus News Agency sources, Anastasiades imparted the message during a lunch hosted by Greek ambassador Vassilios Papaioannou to mark the close of Greece’s EU rotating presidency at the end of June.

Anastasides stressed the need for more active EU participation in the Cyprus talks, and that the island’s partners in the bloc realise this need after speaking with Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay who has held a series of meetings in member states.

The president asked that EU leaders exert pressure on the Turkish side to accept more EU involvement in the process.

He said he had proposed setting up a technical committee on EU issues, but the notion was rejected by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

“We agreed on an interconnected discussion of the issues,” he said, referring to his last meeting on June 2 with Eroglu.

He also stressed the need for both sides to submit their proposals on all issues.

If Eroglu does not do so the negotiations could not move on to the third phase “and the Turkish Cypriot leader will bear the responsibility” he was quoted as saying.

Anastasiades wondered how the property issue could be discussed without discussing territory at the same time as the two issues were interrelated and affected each other.

The Greek Cypriot would submit its positions on all core issue them within the next two months, he added.

Meanwhile, a litany of pessimistic comments about the state of the talks have been flowing out of the north in recent days.

Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami was quoted yesterday as saying there was no reason to be optimistic at this point.

“Unfortunately we have not seen any new convergences or progress since the joint declaration… We can even say that the process went backwards,” he said.

He said the Turkish Cypriot side had shifted from an initially optimistic position to a cautious one.

Nami said the Greek Cypriot side was constantly putting issues such as land and maps forward. “This approach completely contradicts the idea of a healthy process,” said Nami, adding that the formation of the federal structure and the details of federal executive and power sharing should be negotiated prior to discussing territory.

Nami also said US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit had not produced the expected results and this would also affect the possible visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry. “In my opinion Kerry’s visit is not certain as US officials are reevaluating the issue,” he said. Eroglu was of a similar mind frame, saying his side could lose faith if a solution was not found by the end of this year.

“This is the last chance,” Eroglu said at a conference in Turkey. “The Turkish Cypriots have come to a point where they believe that a solution will emerge. But if the negotiations go on and on and no deal is reached by the end of this year, it is very difficult to see the Turkish Cypriots holding the same conviction.”

He said the UN peacekeeping force was an obstacle to effective talks as the Greek Cypriots had no intention of talking as long as the force was around.
“The Greek Cypriots are a member of the European Union and the United Nations and they are not harmed by this deadlock. They need to be conveyed certain messages,” said Eroglu who also met Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Turkey.

Turkish Cypriot columnist Sami Ozuslu from Yeni Duzen reported on Sunday that the talks were about to collapse and the Turkish Cypriot side was at fault.
He said the decision of the leaders to meet twice a month was “completely for show”.

and had been agreement had been reached even before Biden’s coming to the island,” he added. “They are meeting twice every month, but actually there is no such a thing as negotiations at the table”. Ozuslu claimed that last week’s leaders’ meeting was a “fiasco” and that UN Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim was angry and shut it down.

The leaders are due to meet again on June 23.

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