Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis hopes that by the summer there will be some movement on the package of confidence-building measures (CBM) saying the Greek Cypriot proposals could not be so easily rejected because the Turkish Cypriots would be missing an important opportunity for their own progress and prosperity.
In an interview with Politis, Kasoulides said “our efforts are ongoing” and that he hoped for a positive response.
“I started this effort, I hope it will be completed during my term,” he added.
He said the proposals were not a take it or leave it package, but a package that could be negotiated.
The minister said that with the moves to commercialise the fenced-off town of Varosha, the Turkish side appear to be trying to equate the enclosed city, which is uninhabited, with the remainder of the northern part of the island where the notion of ‘user and owner exists’ and must be resolved as part of an overall settlement.
This does not apply in the abandoned town of Varosha and suggested the Turkish side was using it as a form of blackmail.
Asked if he expects movement on the Cyprus issue before the presidential elections in 2023, Kasoulides expressed the belief that the only realistic movement would be on the CBMs.
“After all, our elections are not the issue. The elections in Turkey next year are the issue,” he said.
Asked about relations with the United States, he said that they were currently at the best level they had been in a long time.
Regarding relations with Russia, he said that Cyprus had been included in Moscow’s list of ‘ unfriendly countries’. “We have proved that we are participating as a reliable partner of the EU in the sanctions against Russia,” he added.
Kasoulides said this was important because Cyprus was no longer giving the impression that it was sitting on the fence but leaning towards Moscow.
Regarding discussion on Nato membership, the foreign minister said that there were reasons “that do not advocate for us to do it”. There was no hurry, he added.
“We are proposing to wait and see what happens with Finland and Sweden and “then we will see”. “And I believe that Turkey will not prevent either Finland or Sweden from joining Nato. it will try to extort money and in the end it will consent.”