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Davutoglu: Cyprus solution could change the face of entire region (Update 1)

Ahmet Davutoglu (left) with Mustafa Akinci this week

Turkey will not hesitate to take “necessary steps” for a permanent solution to the partition of Cyprus, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday.

Davutoglu was speaking at a joint press conference in the capital Nicosia with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. His remarks were broadcast live on television.

“Turkey is ready to support a viable, just and peaceful solution, just like it did with the Annan plan in 2004,” said Davutoglu.

He said if the Greek and Turkish Cypriots could reach a compromise, it would change the face of the entire region.

Turkey’s stance was clear, he added, as it was in 2004, in that it was prepared to contribute in every way towards a lasting, just and peaceful solution.

“Our aim is for this solution to present a good example of coexistence based on bizonality and political equality, based on two constituent states and the creation of a new Republic,” he said.

Davutoglu added that Turkey-EU relations were entering a new era amid a new positive atmosphere. “We think and we think it’s time to… take steps to jointly create a peaceful atmosphere on the continent, the Turks, the Greeks and the Greek Cypriots.”

In this respect Turkey’s EU candidacy was not just the participation of a country in a union, but represented a new big step for the future of the continent in terms of world peace, “for peace between religions and cultures”.

“This step we can take first in Cyprus,” he said.

Muslims and Christians living side by side in peace in Cyprus would be a good example for the Middle East and an opportunity for a new era in Europe where Islamophobia has is spreading and growing, Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said he was happy to have been briefed about the intensive talks that had been taking place between the two Cypriot leaders during the past month.

Akinci and President Nicos Anastasiades met six times in November and will meet on another three occasions this month, starting on Friday following the visits to the island of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday and US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday.

More later

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