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Kasoulides: willing to discuss Varosha handover as part of mutually agreed measure (Updated)

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides

The Greek Cypriot side is ready to discuss the opening of Varosha under the auspices of the UN, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Sunday.

During an event to mark 40 years since the death of Archbishop Makarios on August 3, 1977, Kasoulides was asked about the reports from the north that the Turkish side was willing to hand Varosha to the UN.

Kasoulides said it was clear from statements made by a UN spokesman on Friday that “the United Nations is advocating the opening of the fenced city of Famagusta in the form of a confidence building measure only with the agreement of both sides and not unilaterally as the Milliyet report said.”

The UN spokesman said they would welcome any mutually-agreed confidence measures.

Asked whether the document being drafted by the Greek Cypriot side would be enough to convince the international community that such a unilateral act could not be considered a confidence building measure, Kasoulides said the move could not happen as a unilateral act under any circumstances given the UN resolutions under which the topic is covered.

Replying to questions about Turkey’s designs, he said that Ankara’s plan B includes abandoning UN parameters, namely relinquishing the basis of a solution as this is provided for in resolution 1251, and instead discussing a solution of two states or a confederal solution.

Questioned on a NAVTEX issued by Ankara, the minister said Nicosia was surprised in that it refers to the participation of an American warship, adding that the government will seek clarifications and information on the matter from Washington.

Asked if this indicates a shift in US policy on Cyprus, he said that he is not in a position to know that because he is not sure if what Ankara has announced in the NAVTEX it has issued reflects reality.

“Let us be patient until we examine the matter at hand. Participation of an American warship in an area in which we have a serious dispute with Turkey would be tantamount to the US taking a stance and I do not think Washington policy is to take a position on the matter,” the minister added.

Asked to clarify a statement attributed to him that 5/6 of the development budget would go to the Turkish Cypriot community, he said the reference has nothing to do with the Fund for hydrocarbons.

He explained that he was referring to the federal development budget after a solution, saying that in the first years following a solution 5/6 of the budget will go to the Turkish Cypriots until their standard of living reaches that of the Greek Cypriots.

The federal budget, he explained, will be very small compared to the budgets of the constituent states and this idea (5/6 of the budget) has nothing to do with revenue from hydrocarbons exploitation which will be deposited in a special fund and a large part of it will be for the benefit of future generations.

Once the Turkish Cypriots reach a certain level, the budget will be allocated according to the needs of each community.


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