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Akinci blames Greek Cypriots for breakdown in negotiations

23 November 2016

President Mustafa Akinci returned to Cyprus after the breakdown of the Cyprus Summit in Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland.

The President, who was accompanied by his wife Meral and his team held a press conference early on Wednesday morning at Ercan Airport.

He blamed the collapse of the negotiations on the Greek Cypriot side’s attempt to conclude the territorial discussions in its favour and to undermine the negotiating power of the Turkish Cypriots.

Akinci said that he was saddened because he could not return from the negotiations with better news.

Serious progress had been made in four of the six chapters in the negotiations – Management and Power Sharing, European Union Relations, Property and Economy, but some differences remain, he said. There was no progress, however, on the issues of Territory and Security/Guarantees.

[The Greek Cypriot side] proposed the end result that they wanted to see on territory at the first meeting and created this deadlock by mistakenly insisting on this,” Akinci told reporters early on Wednesday at Ercan Airport.

He said the Greek Cypriots had taken their position on territory even before agreeing on a rotating presidency and active participation on resolutions – crucial topics for Turkish Cypriots.

Last week, Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras said that he would not attend a five-party conference on security and guarantees unless Turkey withdrew its troops from the island. This prompted arrangements for a meeting between Tsipras and Turkish President Erdogan. It also disrupted efforts to negotiate on the criteria for territory in the latest rounds of talks on Monday.

As many Greek and Turkish Cypriots were displaced when the island was first divided 42 years ago, a possible agreement would mean redrawing existing boundaries and potentially moving thousands of residents from their homes.

I tried to explain to them that we cannot accept efforts to bring Turkish Cypriots to a point where we cannot negotiate,” Akinci noted.

Akinci said the Turkish Cypriot Parliament would have an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss the latest developments.

We will continue our well-intentioned efforts and aim. However, I would like to underline that the Greek Cypriot side’s attitude is very important,” he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are expected to meet in early December. Akinci said that the meeting would contribute to the negotiations.

We are not going to flee from the negotiations,” he said, adding that the Turkish Cypriot side would not be the cause of failure to reach a solution.

Reunification discussions resumed in May 2015, and both sides have repeatedly expressed optimism that a solution can be found by the end of the year.

Kibris Postasi, World Bulletin

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