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Cavusoglu says gas proceeds should fund settlement

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that proceeds from the sale of the island’s natural gas should be used to fund reunification, reiterating that Turkish Cypriots also had rights in Cyprus’ natural resources.

“There must be a joint decision on where to spend the revenues,” he said. “It is natural for the revenues to be used for the cost of a solution but this decision must be made jointly.”

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides drew the ire of hardline parties last week after he suggested that part of the proceeds from the sale of Cyprus’ natural gas could be used to fund the solution.

They said Turkey, which invaded the island in 1974 and still occupies 37 per cent of its territory, should foot the bill.

President Nicos Anastasiades later said that a small part of the revenues could be used if necessary to avoid the introduction of taxes.

The cost of a solution has not been calculated yet. World Bank and International Monetary Fund experts were working to that end.

On Wednesday, Cavusoglu blamed the Greek Cypriot side for dragging its feet in the reunification process and called for a multilateral conference.

“We want the United Nations to meet with the five countries (Cyprus, Turkey, breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, and guarantors Britain and Greece) and come to a settlement,” the Turkish foreign minister said. “We are not responsible for this delay. The Greek Cypriot side is responsible for this delay.”

To speed up the procedure the meeting must take place, he added.

A multilateral meeting with the participation of the breakaway state is not something that the Greek Cypriot side would accept since it would imply its recognition.

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