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Cyprus Talks

Post-solution army proposed during talks

Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay (r) was suprised by the Greek's side proposal for a small army on the island post-solution

By Stefanos Evripidou

THE GREEK Cypriot negotiating team has tabled a proposal to maintain a small army on the island post-solution, it was reported yesterday.

According to Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi, during a six-hour meeting of the two negotiators on Wednesday, the Greek Cypriot side reportedly put an “unexpected proposal on the table”, going contrary to the traditional and consistent Greek Cypriot demand for full demilitarisation of the island.

The paper quoted Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay as saying that he was surprised by their proposal for a small military unit to remain on the island after a solution. His team reportedly did not respond positively to this proposal, supporting instead the maintenance of Turkish guarantees to ensure stability on the island.

The ongoing conflicts in Syria, Palestine, Ukraine and Georgia were reportedly raised as examples to highlight the need for security in the future.

Referring to the cross visits of the negotiators to Ankara and Athens, Ozersay said the two sides agreed to hold a second round of visits at the beginning of August, but are facing difficulties in getting approval from Athens. He said that Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots had no problem with carrying out a second round of cross visits.

Another daily, Kibris Postasi, yesterday quoted former Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Turgay Avci as saying that that former UN Under-Secretary General Lynn Pascoe is the right person to replace former UN Special Adviser for Cyprus Alexander Downer, who left last April.

Reports surfaced on Sunday that the UN is considering appointing Pascoe to take over the role of special adviser, which so far has been filled by UN Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim.

Avci claimed the Greek Cypriot side is against Pascoe’s appointment because they consider him “a friend of the Turks” and are trying to block the appointment.

He highlighted that in 2008, Pascoe visited the ‘foreign ministry’ in the breakaway north. The US national knows the Turkish side’s views well and is the right person for the job, said Avci.

Regarding resistance to the appointment, he said: “The Greek Cypriots say the same things about every person to be appointed. They want to build a psychological wall.”

During a debate in the House of Lords in London on Tuesday evening, representative for the government, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign Office Baroness Warsi, expressed the UK’s support for an early appointment of a new UN special adviser, who “could help the parties achieve what they say they want”.

But, she added, “the process must be led by the Cypriots, who will need full ownership of any solution”. Baroness Warsi expressed the hope that further progress in the talks would be seen from September, when the new UN special adviser is expected to be in place.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Abdullah Gul will visit the occupied north tomorrow, to take part in celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion on Sunday.

Gul will meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, ‘house speaker’ Sibel Siber and visit the Turkish armed forces headquarters.

He will also visit the graves of Rauf Denktash and Fazil Kucuk.

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