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Cyprus Talks

Akinci sees more rapid progress after May elections (Updated)

Mustafa Akinci

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that if he can’t reach a Cyprus solution with President Nicos Anastasiades, the next generation would be looking at different models for a settlement other than a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

In an interview with Phileleftheros on Sunday, Akinci, said what was different about the current negotiations was that he and Anastasiades have avoided playing the blame game. “We are trying to walk the same path. We see each other as partners for the future,” he said.

“For fifty years the Cyprus problem remains unresolved. Should it remain unresolved, then this will be the last chance. This is more clear than it was before, and I think the world understands this more than before,” he added.

“Anastasiades and I belong to the same generation. Both of us realise that this is the last effort of our generation. If we cannot find a solution, the younger generation will begin to discuss different solution models.”

Asked whether it was possible to find a solution in 2016, Akinci said it was and that he was not the only one who held that belief as Anastasiades and the UN though the same if both leaders could continue with the same will and determination.

“I do not think we need years to reach a solution in Cyprus. I say this repeatedly and I continue to believe it.”

he referred to the Greek Cypriot May parliamentary elections, saying it was the a sensitive period. Even though they were not presidential elections, the political parties, which are expected to play an important role in the solution process, would be competing with each other, Akinci said.

“Therefore, after May I think that we will be able to see more rapid progress. Until then, we try to make more progress on issues where progress has been recorded,” he added.

These include governance, power sharing, economy, EU and property. “Clearly there is progress on four issues,” said the Turkish Cypriot leader.
When they reach territory, security and guarantees, he said, these would be dealt with when all other topics were agreed.

Akinci said he did not wish to see a system of security or guarantees in which either side felt threatened. He said that when the two sides finish up with the other issues on the negotiating table and see what emerges, it would determine what type of formula would come out on guarantees in discussions with the guarantor powers, Turkey, Greece and Britain The Greek Cypriots say EU membership is enough of a guarantee.

Akinci said he understands the concerns of the Greek Cypriots and how important it is to find a solution that will be accepted by both communities, and addresses the concerns of both sides.

On property, Akinci said each side would have a majority of ownership but Greek Cypriots could have the right of residence in the north “if they wanted to build a holiday home or buy an apartment, they will have the right to do so just like a German or a Briton”, but they would remain a permanent resident of their own constituent state.
Akinci also repeated that a rotating presidency was a red line and very important for the Turkish Cypriots. if the Greek Cypriots accepted this, the Turkish side would accept the weighted vote, he added.

He also connected the return of Varosha with the status of Tymbou (Ercan) airport.

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