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Cyprus Talks

Turkey trying to scupper terms for new talks, spokesman says (Updated)

Prodromos Prodromou
President to receive report Monday on recourse to UN over Varosha

Turkey is attempting to scupper any chance of negotiations being resumed, the government said on Sunday.

Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Ankara was trying to prevent an agreement between the leaders of the two sides on terms of reference that would see talks resume under UN auspices.

He was responding to comments by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in an interview published on Sunday in Kathimerini where he repeated comments he made in Cyprus during his visit to the north last Monday as regards the negotiations and the fenced-off town of Varosha.

In the interview, Cavusoglu called for an informal five-party meeting with the two sides and the guarantor powers to define what will be negotiated, create a framework, and go to negotiations “focused on outcome”.

He also repeated that Varosha would be opened. “The plan for the city will be made public after the necessary processes are done,” he said. Cavusoglu had visited Varosha last Monday with Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay.

The Turkish foreign minister also said Ankara would continue drilling in and around Cyprus “until a common solution to the issue is found”.

Cavusoglu repeated numerous statements he had made in the past such as the previous model of negotiations would no longer work after the Crans-Montana failure in 2017.

There was a need to consider alternatives, he said. “The most remarkable proposals on this issue came from the Greek Cypriot leader in bilateral talks, He once referred to the two-state solution and sometimes to a decentralised federation, confederation but also a loose federation,” Cavusoglu said.

According to the Turkish Foreign Minister, several proposals had come to the fore, which needed to be considered. Anastasiades has denied bringing up the two-state solution at the Swiss talks.

Asked about the possibility of a two-state solution, he said: “If both sides are ready, then yes, that could happen,” he said, adding that Ankara did not rule out any solution model.

He said this time the process should be focused on the outcome and that was why the terms of reference should not contain ambiguous points.

Cavusoglu also said Anastasiades did not believe in political equality and retreated from the convergences reached in Cyprus and Switzerland.

“If we go through a process with this mentality again today, we will lose another 50 years and have no results,” he added.

Asked if guarantees and security would be at the forefront of his proposed informal conference, Cavusoglu said it was a sensitive issue.

In Crans-Montana, he said, the Turkish side had taken a flexible stance on guarantees but the Greek Cypriot side had backed away from political equality.

On Varosha, Cavusoglu said the area should be used. “The non-use of the area serves no one,” he said.

He also rejected again, the Greek Cypriot side’s counterproposal on keeping the Turkish Cypriot informed on gas developments, which was the government’s response to the Turkish side’s demand for joint management of hydrocarbons prior to a solution. The proposal was still on the table, he said/

Regarding his relations with Turkish leader Mustafa Akinci, Cavusoglu said there was no question of facilitating or obstructing Akinci’s work. “The important thing is not the opinion of the politicians or anybody, but the common view of the Turkish side,” he said.

Prodromou responded saying: “Obviously Turkey is intervening at the moment and to prevent the agreement between the President of the Republic and the Turkish Cypriot leader which appeared to be possible, to conclude the terms of reference.”

UN envoy Jane Holl Lute spent six days earlier this month shuttling between the two leaders to agree on the terms. A deal appeared to be close until an obstacle arose from the Turkish side as regards the inclusion of political equality for the Turkish Cypriots, following a phone call between Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Ankara. From then on and despite three more rounds of meetings with Lute, the terms could not be agreed.

Cavusoglu, during his visit, said political equality would have to be agreed in advance before any new talks could come about.

“Turkey has been trying to prevent the resumption of negotiations because it wants to avoid and disable the Guterres framework and in particular the provisions of the framework and the parameters for the abolition of guarantees and the withdrawal of the occupying army,” said Prodromou.

“In the interim, it raises the claim for the abolition of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus on the pretext of natural gas while using as blackmail the threat of colonisation of the city of Famagusta, which it has held captive and hostage for 45 years in a state of desolation,” he added.

Prodromou said that in the words of President Nicos Anastasiades on Saturday night, “we will use all the diplomatic and political mean at our disposal to prevent the colonisation of Varosha and claim the continuation of the UN Secretary-General’s initiative to relaunch negotiations. ”

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides also weighed in on Sunday saying a report on possible options and recourse to the UN, would be submitted to the president on Monday. The report contained the views of the five permanent members of the Security Council. “The message to Mr Cavusoglu will be clear,” Christodoulides said.

“Whatever Mr Cavusoglu says from time to time, because he thinks that with a statement or an interview he will create problems, or because he wants to send messages to the Turkish Cypriots, or because he wants to promote some of Turkey’s positions, the answer is that Turkey is asked to give only one; relaunch talks from where they stopped in Crans-Montana on terms of reference basis, for which there was a meeting between the two leaders on August 9.”

“Any other position on the part of Turkey should be submitted to the UN Secretary-General.”

On Varosha, he said no one could dispute the ownership of the fenced-off area “
no matter how much Mr Ozersay proceeds and no matter what actions are taken by Turkey”.

 


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