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Anastasiades ready to speak with Turkey, not ‘sidelining’ Akinci

File photo: President Anastasiades, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini in Crans-Montana.

President Nicos Anastasiades is ready to return to the negotiations at any time, as long as it’s under the terms of reference of the UN Secretary-General in order for there to be results, he was quoted as saying on Sunday.

In an interview with Phileleftheros, part of which was publish online, Anastasiades also said that “without sidelining” the Turkish Cypriot leader, whom he considers his official interlocutor, he would never rule out dialogue with any official of the Turkish government.

“We say the Cyprus issue is a problem of invasion and occupation, and those who invade and possess are not Turkish Cypriots, but Turkey. So why deny it?”

Anastasiades urged Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to tell him a UN member state with a federal system in which decision-making in the central government calls for the positive vote of the other state.

Commenting on statements by Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay that the terms of reference – which the two sides must reach before talks can resume – could not be reached soon Anastasiades said a dialogue could be started on internal issues that remain unresolved, such as the economic viability of Turkish Cypriot banks.

In a reminder of a recent statement by the Turkish foreign minister that the Greek Cypriots should wake up from the dream of “zero army, zero guarantees”, Anastasiades said that the same line was used by the same minister Mevlut Cavusoglu while he was in Crans-Montana.

“I sincerely regret that the Left [Akel] has in particular adopted a narrative that is nowhere to be confirmed,” said Anastasiades. He was referring to accusations by the opposition party that Turkey had been ready to agree to abolishing the guarantee system and that it was Anastasiades that badly handled the Crans-Montana negotiations, which collapsed in July 2017.

Responding to other questions during the interview, Anastasiades said his goal was for Cyprus to have excellent relations with all UN member states and that the development of relations with the United States or Israel was not at the expense of other friendly countries such as Russia.
Moscow recently accused the US of having plans to militarise Cyprus and warned Nicosia it would retaliate.

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