By Stefanos Evripidou
PRESIDENT NICOS Anastasiades said yesterday Cyprus had “tremendous opportunities for growth and prosperity” if the two communities reached a solution, but to overcome division the Turkish Cypriot side must honour last February’s joint declaration.
Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis echoed the sentiment in a speech in Brussels, where he criticised the Turkish Cypriots for refusing to discuss the key issues of territory, settlers and security in the flagging peace talks.
Speaking at the unveiling of a monument to honour the missing, fallen and murdered residents of Ayios Giorgos in Kyrenia, Anastasiades called on the Turkish Cypriots to meet their obligations deriving from the joint declaration and discuss all unresolved key issues at the negotiating table and across chapters.
He argued that this view was also held by UN acting special adviser Lisa Buttenheim, as expressed in her statement after the two leaders’ last meeting on June 2.
The president said the Greek Cypriot side was waiting for the Turkish Cypriots to table in writing its proposals on all chapters so that the negotiations can proceed to the next stage.
Speaking at the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels, Mavroyiannis argued that for 40 years now, the Turkish side did not accept to discuss the three core and interconnected issues of territory, settlers and security, adding that their discussion was a prerequisite to finding a solution.
The Greek Cypriot negotiator also said the Turkish side seemed unwilling to accept an enhanced EU role in the peace process.
“This is of fundamental importance for us,” he said.
Mavroyiannis also expressed the view that there could be no permanent derogations from the EU acquis communautaire in a peace settlement, though certain transitional periods could be acceptable, until the Turkish Cypriot side adjusts to the acquis.
Regarding Turkey’s contribution, Mavroyiannis said the Turkish officials he has spoken with are “serious” when they say they wish to proceed towards a solution of the Cyprus problem.
However, “I do not know how far they are willing to go”, he said.
For his part, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu was quoted saying in the north yesterday that the Greek Cypriots sees the Turks of Cyprus as a minority and do not want to give them their rights, thereby preventing a solution.
His negotiator Kudret Ozersay was quoted in Kibris newspaper saying: “The Cyprus problem has actually ended in a sense. Because everything has been exhausted, what should be done is to enter into a kind of a give-and-take that will step by step close the existing differences between the sides.”
Ozersay has long argued that the exploitation of the island’s natural resources should be tied to a comprehensive solution or to the consent of the Turkish Cypriots.
Reports yesterday said Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami met with the ambassadors of Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and Poland to brief them on the “impasse” in the talks.
The usually more dovish Nami was yesterday quoted in the Turkish Cypriot press accusing the Greek Cypriots of submitting “extreme proposals” at the negotiating table.
The two negotiators will meet again today to discuss citizenship, federal powers and federal jurisdiction, according to Ozersay. The next leaders’ meeting will be on June 23.