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Cyprus Talks

Ozersay reveals unofficial contacts with Disy’s Neophytou

Kudret Ozersay

 Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay has revealed that among the contacts has had recently with the Greek Cypriot side, was also a meeting with ruling Disy chief Averof Neophytou.

Ozersay revealed on social media on Saturday that he had had a private meeting with Greek Cypriot Chief Negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis on Friday in Limassol.

On Sunday, in an interview with Phileleftheros, part of which was published online, Ozersay confirmed – as the Greek Cypriot side already has – the contacts in New York between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last month.

In his interview on Sunday, Ozersay said he and Neophytou discussed the Cyprus issue in an “outside-the-box” manner in an effort to reach some understanding. The two sides should not continue the same pattern of talks on the Cyprus issue, he said

“We need a sincere in-depth discussion… we have to discuss… it makes sense”.

“There are two ways to discuss. One is the informal talks that have already begun. And the second is debate, not the negotiations that are going to start in the presence of the United Nations.”

The two leaders are due to meet informally on Friday but the UN has not yet called them back to official negotiations and won’t until a new round of contacts with his envoy Jane Holl Lute are completed.

Ozersay said the debate that needs to take place is whether the sides have a common vision for the future of Cyprus.

“We must first agree whether we have a common vision and what kind of negotiation we will be doing, agree on what the terms of reference of the talks will be. So, according to the UN approach, only then can formal negotiations start. Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding even about the most fundamental element – the bi-zonal bi-communal federation. We perceive it differently,” he was quoted as saying.

In his interview, Ozersay also assesses the recent UN chief’s report. By studying it, it said he did not find any kind of framework. “It is up to the parties to agree on the framework,” he said.

What was noteworthy was that there was no reference by the UNSG to picking up the talks where they left off in Crans-Montana last year.

Eleni Theocharous’ party Solidarity Movement was first to react on Sunday to the interview.

“Today’s revelation by Kudret Ozersay that the Cyprus issue was discussed ‘out of the box’ in New York at the Anastasiades-Cavusoglu secret meeting with the aim of finding new ways of understanding, while at the same time being discussed in a similar way between himself and Averof Neophytou in their hidden encounters – such as the recent one at Kormakitis – confirms that once again our side is retreating,” a written statement said.

Solidarity said the “loose or decentralised or disarrayed federation”, was nothing more than another Annan Plan, in a worse form than the one that was rejected by a large part of Disy and opposition Akel together with the 76 per cent of the people in 2004, and of course which served Turkish aims”.

“The political death of [Turkish Cypriot leader] Mustafa Akinci ordered by [Turkish President Tayyip] Erdogan has been implicitly and tacitly accepted by his former friends and fanatical advocates and on our side since last July in Crans-Montana when Mr Cavusoglu did not let him articulate a word,” the statement added.

Akinci in recent weeks has complained of being sidelined, especially due to the Anastasiades-Cavusoglu contacts. It was also reported that Cavusoglu had not met Akinci in New York but with Ozersay.

“Already the ‘informal talks’ have gained more weight than the ‘official’ ones, and this is another dangerous improvisation by Anastasiades and Averof,” Solidarity said.

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