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Akinci says won’t make move on Cyprus problem until mandate renewed

Former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said on Tuesday he will not take a step on the Cyprus problem unless his mandate is renewed, reports said.

During an interview with Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris, Akinci said no developments are expected on the Cyprus problem for the moment, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

He was replying to a question on the lawsuit filed by Rebirth Party (YDP) against the ‘parliament’ decision on postponing the elections for the new Turkish Cypriot leader to October, thereby prolonging Akinci’s service. The party argued that Akinci must not make any move during this period on the Cyprus problem.

The elections were to take place last April but were postponed for six months due to the pandemic. Akinci is among the candidates.

“What development can be expected for Cyprus during this period, as the whole world is struggling with the virus epidemic?” Akinci asked.

The Turkish Cypriot leader said if he is re-elected, he said he would work with all his strength to solve the Cyprus problem “because I believe that what we have experienced once again in both communities demonstrates the necessity of a solution.”

He added that it has been more than half a century since the talks started but the effort continues, also pointing out, however, that the longer time passes without a solution, partition is being solidified.

Noting that efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue will resume after coronavirus clears, Akinci expressed confidence that the opportunity for a solution would reappear with the efforts of both sides and with the contribution of the UN Secretary-General.

“If both communities support and work honestly for a federal structure based on the political equality of the two constituent states, European and bi-zonal, we will be able to move forward to a new life of equality, freedom and security,” he said.

“If not, unfortunately in the not too distant future, we will witness the permanent division of this beautiful island.”

Procedures for the talks are expected to resume after elections in the north.

As regards natural gas, Akinci said the two sides should take advantage of the postponement by energy companies licenced by the Republic of Cyprus of their activities until 2021 to start a dialogue on the matter.

Akinci recalled the proposal the Turkish Cypriot side had submitted in July 2019 on a joint committee for cooperation on hydrocarbons between the two sides, pointing out that the Greek Cypriot side sees the energy issue a separate one and refuses to talk about this matter with the Turkish Cypriots.

He also said that solution of the Cyprus problem would lead to cooperation in all sectors, including tourism.

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