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Mogherini: EU and Turkey share common interest in solving Cyprus, Anastasiades: time-zone issue indication of Turkey’s influence on north

President Nicos Anastasiades with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Athens

The European Union and Turkey share a “common interest” in seeing the Cyprus issue resolved in the coming months, Federica Mogherini, who oversees foreign affairs for the European Commission, said on Friday.

Mogherini spoke at a news conference after talks with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and European Affairs Minister Omer Celik.

“I would like to say a word on the issue of Cyprus because we discussed this at length during the meeting today and I believe and I can say that the European Union and Turkey have a common interest in seeing the Cyprus issue solved,” said Mogherini.

“We both can contribute enormously to this solution, we both want this to happen and I believe that we both believe that this could happen now in the near future. So this is why maybe this expectation was somehow raised in this framework, because indeed we see a window of more than hope for this issue to be solved in a proper way in the coming months.”

During the same meeting, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn also expressed hope the Cyprus problem would be resolved and disagreed with Cavusoglu, who said it was a weakness on the part of the EU to allow the Republic of Cyprus to block Ankara’s accession negotiations.

“This is not the EU’s weakness.  I do not agree with Mr. Cavusoglu. These are the conditions of the game and must be respected,” he said.

Meanwhile in Athens, according to CNA, President Nicos Anastasiades revisited the issue of post-settlement guarantees saying before a meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos: “Our Turkish Cypriot compatriots have to understand that what we are seeking in Cyprus is an independent, sovereign state and not to convert the Republic of Cyprus into a protectorate of any power.”

He referred to the Turkish Cypriot side’s decision to follow Turkey in not turning their clocks back next month, effectively creating two time zones in Cyprus. The decision, he said, though not so grave “nonetheless proves why Cyprus does not need any guarantees or influences, even in one of the two constituent states of a federal Cyprus.”
“What message is such a move sending? For a start, it says that they are under Turkey`s influence,” he added. “Secondly, do they believe that they have been incorporated into Turkey, while at the same time we are trying, through our efforts with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (to reunite the country), and that they will form part of Turkey which will be united and form the Federal Republic of Cyprus? ” he said.

“That is why I am saying that any guarantees will simply provide Ankara with an advantage as a guarantor power, exercising its influence to control the whole new state of affairs.”
It was for these reasons, he added that he spoke of “cautious optimism” as there were still issues that have to be solved “and if this does not happen, it will be impossible to reach a solution.”

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