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Kasoulides: solution must benefit both communities

Foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides

The joint declaration by the two leaders on the first anniversary of their negotiations was aimed at making it clear that the Cyprus talks are based on the principle of reaching solution beneficial to both communities, without winners and losers, Foreign Affairs Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Sunday.

It will be a solution, he said, which will correspond to the expectations and concerns of both sides.

“That is the meaning of the joint statement of the two leaders, who express their determination to continue from where they left off until the completion of the effort,” Kasoulides said.

As regards comments by opposition parties on the Cyprus problem, “a lot is unfortunately being said in the on the altar of pre-election expediencies”.

Kasoulides said currently in the talks, four of the six chapters that are open are under discussion and progressing at the same time.

“Afterwards, it is expected that the chapters on territory and security will be opened,” Kassoulides said. All six chapters, he said, would be closed at the same time, “because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

House speaker Yiannakis Omirou said on Sunday the Cyprus problem would not be resolved “only by wishful thinking”. Despite the climate of optimism being cultivated, Omirou said, “and despite the unjustified feeling of euphoria”, Turkey hasn’t shown in practice any change as regards its stance.

“Therefore, although of course we want a solution as soon as possible through the negotiations process, but without living in a state of self-denial,” Omirou said. He added that it would be unthinkable to give more concessions to Turkey, without it first fulfilling its obligations to the Republic of Cyprus.

AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou expressed satisfaction with the joint statement and said that the two leaders’ declarations must become a reality.

“Our wish is for the Turkish side to understand that unless the basic concerns of the Greek Cypriot side are met, we cannot reach an agreement,” Kyprianou said. Our side too, he said, should be ready to take into consideration the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots.

He added that AKEL supported the talks but was not offering a “blank cheque”.

“When the president [Nicos Anastasiades] finally decided to change tactics and utilise convergences, progress was finally achieved,” Kyprianou said.

The months ahead will be extremely critical for the fate of the current negotiation process, he said.

Commenting on the possibility of reaching a solution within the year, ruling DISY boss Averof Neophytou said everything depended on Ankara’s political will.

“If Ankara accepts a solution to the Cyprus problem based on international law and European principles without foreign armies, without guarantors, and a proper territorial adjustment by ensuring the four basic freedoms of free movement, settlement, acquisition of property and the right to work, then why shouldn’t we consider that it is enough to solve the Cyprus problem within the next few months,” Neophytou said.

Opposition DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, said that his party did not want to see announcements on the occasion of the anniversary of the talks, but substance as regards the Cyprus issue.

He accused Anastasiades of gradually restoring the provisions of the Annan plan and of being afraid to admit it to the public.

George Lillikas, head of the Citizens Alliance, said that the aim of the joint statement was to maintain a good climate in the talks. There was reason however, why the talks had not led to positive results, he said, and this was Turkish intransigence. He urged Anastasiades to “tell the people the real causes of non-solution and the real goals of the Turkish side being put forward at the negotiating table”.

EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos said the joint statement referred to the leaders’ efforts to reach an agreement in 2016 which “fully justifies the position of EDEK on the need for fully informing the public on what has been so far agreed […] to avoid last minute surprises”.

The first meeting of the two leaders, on May 15, 2015, a few weeks after Mustafa Akinci was elected as the leader of Turkish Cypriot community. It also marked the resumption of talks after a seven-month hiatus following Anastasiades’ withdrawal from the negotiations in October 2014, citing the Turkish seismic vessel Barbaros’ excursions into Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.

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