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Akinci: no intention of being caught up in the same talks’ merry-go-round

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

Following Monday night’s dinner with President Nicos Anastasiades, which was aimed at seeing how Cyprus talks could be resumed, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had been no change in the stance of either side since the last round of negotiations failed in Crans-Montana last year.

In statements after his return to the north after the dinner hosted by UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar at her residence, Akinci said: “During the meeting tonight we have found out where we stand. This was a necessary meeting and should have been held. It was important to have a clear view for the period to come”.

Arguing that a chance had been wasted after two years of negotiations, Akinci added: “At the stage we have come to now, absolutely nothing can be the same. We have no intention of being imprisoned in the same methods.”

The Turkish Cypriot leader said the days of talking, debating and going endlessly around in circles had ended

“I have made earlier statements saying that the process from now on can be taken up with a strategic approach within the framework of a package which is not open-ended. Can this happen within the forthcoming period?” he said.

Akinci said the process to come would show whether UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would undertake an initiative but no new situation had arisen from the dinner, he said.

“The sides continue to be at the same point they were in Crans-Montana. We have not been able to see any difference in the stance of the Greek Cypriot side,” Akinci added.

He said the Turkish Cypriot side had brought the gas issue to the table and had warned “what would happen from now on”.

As natural gas was a joint wealth which concerned both sides in Cyprus, either a committee should be established or energy activities should be postponed “or if these cannot happen, the Turkish Cypriot side may be obliged to undertake similar activities together with Turkey”, Akinci said.

He said they had asked for a briefing from the Greek Cypriot side regarding the crossing points before going to the dinner and according to what he heard, it was hoped Dherynia could be opened on July 1 and Lefka-Apliki in September.

“We wish for these dates to be the final ones,” he said.

Asked about the speculation that Guterres might appoint a new special envoy, at least temporarily to gauge the prospects for new talks, Akinci said: “I have said that a change of the mentality of the Greek Cypriot side is needed. I have been saying this for months. I did not say that it will happen but it should happen. Tonight, I could not see any clue regarding a change of mentality”.

Akinci’s comments echoed those of Anastasiades when he returned to the presidential palace after the dinner on Monday night saying the positions of both sides were still the same.

Anastasiades said that neither side would object to the possibility of a special envoy. However, when it came to energy plans, Anastasiades said he told Akinci there was no question this being discussed at the negotiating table “either the postponement of the energy programme or that of the joint committee”.

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