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Cyprus Talks

Juncker visit shows EU interest in Cyprus

Foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides

By Jean Christou

FOREIGN Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said yesterday that the visit of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to Cyprus demonstrated the increased involvement of the EU in efforts to find a Cyprus solution.

Speaking on CyBC’s morning programme, Kasoulides said a Cyprus settlement should create a new state that would be based on the principles of the European Union, the European acquis and be able to operate within the bloc.

Because of the complex nature of the EU aspect to the negotiations, Juncker had reappointed Pieter Van Nuffel as his personal representative to the UN’s Good Offices Mission in Cyprus to work closely with UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide. Van Nuffel was first appointed to the post in July 2012.

He is tasked with assisting the parties in the settlement talks with technical and legal expertise and will ensure that any solution will be compatible with European law and European values, and act as a liaison between the UN Good Offices Mission and the European Commission.

Kasoulides said there were so many issues involved, that skilled people from the European Commission were needed to monitor the negotiations, “to give advice to the two sides, to give advice to Mr Eide to allow this whole thing to become feasible”.

He said this was what President Nicos Anastasides had called for during his election campaign “but unfortunately the previous leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community viewed it with suspicion” because Greek Cypriots were in the EU and they were not, and it would create issues.
But Kasoulides said the EU acquis could be used to solve many issues that were previously unsolvable.

Commenting on Juncker’s admitted fondness for Cyprus, Kasoulides – referring to the Cyprus bailout – said on that “grim day in March 2013”, the only country that was sympathetic and positive towards Cyprus was Luxembourg,” where Juncker hails from. “He was very supportive to Cyprus,” he said.

Asked if whether Juncker had been in his current position at the time, things might have gone better for Cyprus, Kasoulides said things per se, might not have turned out differently but when someone treats a situation with sympathy “when they do not offend, do not humiliate… this is important”.

Questioned as to whether he was referring to how Greece was recently treated, Kasoulides criticised his EU partners, particularly in the eurozone, because of the way they handled Greece.

“They could have achieved the same results with a little respect,” he said.

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