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Cyprus

Response to Akinci proposal to be sent in a week

The Republic’s negative response to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s proposal for a joint committee on hydrocarbons is expected to be sent in about a week and it is unlikely to include a counter-proposal, a senior official said Wednesday.

Undersecretary to the president Vasilis Palmas said the term counter proposal involved the risk of equating a recognised state, member of the international community, with a non-state.

Palmas said the letter must be worded in such a way so as not to suggest such a thing in any way.

Party leaders have unanimously rejected Akinci’s proposal of setting up a joint committee on hydrocarbons as a way of diffusing tension in the region.

Palmas reiterated it was an attempt by the Turkish Cypriot leader to shift from the substance, which is the solution of the Cyprus problem.

President Nicos Anastasiades asked party leaders on Tuesday to give him their positions in writing so as to include some in his response.

“We will give time today and tomorrow for them to send their proposals in writing. This does not mean they will be adopted,” Palmas said. “We cannot include thinks with which we disagree.”

On the substance, Palmas said the issue had been agreed by former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and late former president Demetris Christofias.

That agreement says energy issues will be handled by the federal government. Parliament has also voted legislation regarding a sovereign fund where gas revenues would be deposited pending the island’s reunification.

Palmas said the Turkish Cypriot concerns were satisfied to a large extent.

If anything else must be added in the letter it will not suggest “talks between two states,” he said.

Akinci’s proposal involves the establishment of a joint committee under the supervision of the UN which would have the same number of members from both sides, and an independent observer.

His proposal is also said to outline the structure, targets and methodology of the committee and includes the establishment of a fund and details on how this fund would be used.

Akinci also sent the proposal to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the EU Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

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