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Turkey’s foreign minister: Turkish Cypriots’ security is ‘paramount’

Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

TURKISH Foreign Minister Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu said on Monday that the security of the Turkish Cypriot people was, for Ankara, paramount in any Cyprus settlement and that the guarantor countries would need to be involved in addressing the issue during the negotiations.
Sinirlioglu was speaking at a joint news conference in the north of Nicosia with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on his first official visit since being appointed Turkish foreign minister.
“These issues will be addressed in the negotiations for the solution that will emerge and the new sustainable system that is going to be established. And for this to happen the guarantor countries need to be involved,” Sinirlioglu said.
The Turkish side has been pushing for a five-party conference that would include the two sides, and 1960 guarantors Greece, Turkey and Britain but the Greek Cypriot side wants to leave the issue of guarantees until the end of the process and feels that EU membership is enough of a guarantee post-solution to protect the rights of all Cypriots.
Sinirlioglu said he and Akinci had assessed the current stage of the negotiations process and that they exchanged views on cooperation between Turkey and the ‘TRNC’.
“Without losing anymore time, we will provide the necessary support in order to be able to take steps towards a Cyprus solution. It is our aim to reach a solution which guarantees political equality and one in which Turkish Cypriots feel safe. We hope that the Greek community respond positively to the demands of the Turkish community. We recognise that the political will exists for a common future, to be constructed in partnership by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities,” he added.
Akinci said that following the Greek elections on September 20, he expected Athens to contribute to the process more actively.

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