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The ball is in the Turkish Cypriot court: Eide

17 January 2015

UN Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide gave an interview to Turkish daily ‘Millyet’s’ North Cyprus correspondent, Sefa Karahasan.

According to the paper, Eide who met with President Nicos Anastasiades, and President Dervis Eroglu, at the time when Turkey’s Foreign Minister was visiting the TRNC, Eide has made a call for a solution. The main points of Eide’s interview with ‘Milliyet’ are as follows:

“There was a demand by the Turkish Cypriot side for the hydrocarbons issue to be negotiated at the table. This was impossible thus far. However, last week, Anastasiades sent a message concerning the discussion of the issue at the negotiating table. The Turkish Cypriot side should receive and recognise this message.

The ball is on the Turkish Cypriot side. It should give a response to this. Regarding the preconditions by the Greek Cypriots, these are preconditions which were not submitted officially. It is just some viewpoints which need interpretation. What is important here is the change of the policy of the Greek Cypriots.

Previously, the hydrocarbon issue was not on the table, now it is on the table. What I could say about this change is that it could not happen overnight. My proposal to the Turkish Cypriot side is to be focused on the language used by the south – to be focused on the proposal and the change. What the Greek Cypriots said turned against their internal policy”.

“I am coming from a country which is known for its hydrocarbons. I have seen a lot of conflicts because of hydrocarbons. If is necessary to speak in statistical terms, if hydrocarbons are found in a country, this is bad news for this country. It could be the reason for a political crisis. However, in some cases, hydrocarbons could be useful; if a stable atmosphere is created, if there is a good management. Hydrocarbons should not be a problem in Cyprus. If the Cyprus problem is not solved, then hydrocarbons could, in fact, be a curse. The Cyprus problem should have been solved ten years ago”.

Replying to the question: “Had the international community got bored with the Cyprus problem, Eide said the following:

“Politely speaking, the world would be very happy for a solution to the Cyprus problem. It is a problem being supported by the whole world. The Cyprus problem is not a problem like the Syria problem which divided the great powers. So, Cypriots should evaluate this opportunity carefully.

I have a very close and constructive cooperation with Ankara. And it is in our interest for Ankara to have close cooperation with the Turkish Cypriots. Turkey, Greece, the USA and the other actors could show both communities on the island a bigger window through which to see the issue”.

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