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Kasoulides: Turkey’s commitment to Cyprus solution will be tested at negotiating table

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said that Turkey’s stated commitment to wanting to help solve the Cyprus problem would ultimately be put to the test at the negotiating table.

In an interview with Simerini newspaper published on Sunday, Kasoulides said that though Turkey says it wants a solution, the issues that directly involve Ankara such as security and guarantees, have not yet been put on the table so it was hard to judge whether Ankara had truly changed its positions. “These [issues] would actually establish whether Turkey has changed its position so we could say with certainty that we will solve the Cyprus problem,” Kasoulides said.

The foreign minister also commented on the fuss made by rejectionist parties over Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s attendance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in Switzerland during the past week. Hardliners spent the week saying it was an ‘upgrade’ of Akinci for him to appear at a joint event with President Nicos Anastasiades and WEF chief Klaus Schwab where the leaders spoke of their vision for a solution.

Kasoulides said Davos was an annual gathering of global reach, which hundreds of people political world, governments, businessmen, journalists and others attend and who participate in various panels and meet on the sidelines.

“I do not agree that Mr Akinci was ‘upgraded’. Their [the leaders] appearance was at a roundtable discussion on the Cyprus issue and therefore they both appeared as leaders of their respective communities,” he said.

He said the same parties who are now complaining, were protesting on the eve of the arrival of US Vice President Joe Biden in Cyprus in 2014 and saying that his meeting with former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in the north would “upgrade the pseudo-state”.

“In the end the pseudo-state was not upgraded,” said Kasoulides.

Asked whether the Greek Cypriot side could trust Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Kasoulides said: “We currently have the ‘evil’ Erdogan. In the past we have had Bulent Ecevit, the prime minister of the invasion and previously his predecessors. In the future we will have successors to Erdogan. By this logic, will never solve the Cyprus issue or we should not dare to ever to solve the Cyprus problem, which means that the 43,000 Turkish soldiers will stay in Cyprus.”

Commenting on the UN’s role in a future solution, Kasoulides said this time, the role of the UN Security Council, instead of just adopting a Cyprus solution should also undertake the role of monitoring its implementation.

On the cost of a solution, the foreign minister said this would depend largely on what the ultimate agreement will be on the property issue, as the bulk of what is being bandied about – 25bn-30bn euros – would go in compensation.

Kasoulides said at the moment the sides were depending on technical advice from the IMF, the World Bank and the EU. “We await the professional and scientific reports of those bodies,” he said.

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