By Stefanos Evripidou
UNTIL THE Turkish Cypriot negotiating team submits proposals on all core issues, the peace talks cannot enter into a third phase of give-and-take, said government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides yesterday.
Speaking after President Nicos Anastasiades briefed the National Council on the latest in the Cyprus peace talks, the spokesman said: “Our side is working constructively to make it possible to have common ground, create convergences and also narrow the distance between the positions of the two sides.”
In turn, the talks can enter the third phase, the so-called ‘give-and-take’ phase of the talks.
For this to happen, the Turkish Cypriot side must submit proposals on all the core issues, as it has publicly committed to doing, both in the joint declaration issued on February 11 and with the June 2 statement of UN acting special adviser Lisa Buttenheim, said Christodoulides.
The spokesman called on the international community to realise that there must be a submission of proposals on all core issues, adding the Greek Cypriot side cannot proceed to the next phase “if we discuss only issues that interest one of the two sides”.
The two leaders will meet again on Monday, while the National Council is due to convene next on July 7.
In a speech given before the 41st session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami also called on the UN and international community to encourage the Greek Cypriots “to adopt a positive approach and respect past agreements”.
Nami referred to the joint declaration, describing it as an “historic agreement” between two leaders on some of the most crucial aspects of the solution.
“Unfortunately the Greek Cypriot side is not using the process wisely and is following delaying tactics. The Greek Cypriot side is not respecting past agreements which are the backbone of a future peace settlement and the result of years of work,” said Nami.
“Due to this intransigence, there is the danger that the talks would have to start from scratch. (The) Turkish Cypriot side is constructively trying to overcome this and there is a role for the United Nations to play in order to move the process forward.”
Meanwhile, far right group ELAM yesterday released a statement slamming Anastasiades for not inviting the party to sit at the National Council after it received 2.7 per cent of the vote in the European Parliament elections.
ELAM argued that it received more votes than the Green party (2.2 per cent), which as a parliamentary party gets a seat in the Council.
After the euro-elections, Anastasiades invited the Citizens’ Alliance to sit in the Council, since it had both an MP in parliament and secured more than 1.8 per cent of the vote in the May euro-elections. The 1.8 per cent is the minimum benchmark set for entry into the Cypriot parliament.