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Proximity talks could re-open Cyprus negotiations

17 February 2015

There is broad agreement between the Turkish Cypriot political parties that proximity talks are the way forward to re-start the Cyprus negotiations.

The talks were halted following the issue of a NAVTEX (notice to mariners) in October 2014, announcing Turkey’s intention to send its own seismic survey vessel to operate off-shore Cyprus. South Cyprus refuses to return to the negotiations until Turkey cancels the NAVTEX.

Representatives of all the political parties say they believe that proximity talks carried out by the UN are essential to overcome the stalemate in the talks. Shuttle diplomacy, they believe could be a temporary measure but would not be a substitute for direction negotiations.

CTP-BG’s public relations and human resources’ secretary, Birikim Ozgur said that UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide (above) has such a mission and his party supports this mission. He noted that the Turkish Cypriot leadership should undertake more initiatives as regards the negotiations and develop some new alternative proposals. “We are worried by the fact that the Turkish side has made no proposal as regards the natural gas crisis since 2012 for turning it to an issue of cooperation and not a conflict”, he said.

DP-UG’s foreign relations secretary, Serhat Kotak argued that proximity talks cannot be a substitute for direct negotiations, but these could be used as initiative for the re-start of direct negotiations.

UBP’s general secretary, Sunat Atun said that his party held no objection for the beginning of proximity talks, but there was concern that the Greek Cypriots might use these talks as a ground “for creating new preconditions” and expressed doubts about the stance of the Greek Cypriots in the talks.

TDP’s deputy general secretary responsible for foreign relations, Deniz Birinci said that any kind of communication is useful and added that their party is very positive about developments such as proximity talks and cross-visits of Greek Cypriots to Ankara and Turkish Cypriots to Athens. She noted that TDP will visit Athens within the coming weeks and meet with Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras.

BKP’s chairman, Izzet Izcan said that what Eide is holding is proximity talks. He noted that proximity talks would not be harmful and his party supports this because this would pave the way for direct talks. He noted, though, that what we need is direct negotiations.

YKP’s member of the executive council, Alpay Durduran noted that problems are solved through dialogue and a solution through the use of force created new problems. Therefore, he added, holding even indirect negotiations is useful.

SDP’s chairman, Tozun Tunali said that his party is in favour of the proximity talks adding that the negotiations were interrupted for “minor reasons”.

Source Kibris Gazetesi

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